When Reliance Power announced an initial public offering (IPO), it got attention for its size. The hype and marketing blitz that followed stoked public imagination and when the issue opened, it was sold out in seconds.

Contrary to public expectations though, when it listed, the markets hammered the stock down and the company continued to stay in the headlines. Just when the shock was beginning to settle, in an unprecedented move, Reliance Power has proposed to issue bonus shares to stakeholders in the company.

Seemingly a first for any company in the world that is just about a week old on the stock exchange, the company's board will meet in Mumbai on February 24 to consider the proposal and decide the bonus ratio. The company, however, will not issue any shares to its promoters, a spokesperson for the group said.
Market veterans say group chairman Anil Ambani took it very personally as the stock markets pounded the scrip. Add to this a few million rattled retail investors and the risk of eroding what 'Brand Ambani ' stands for in the stock market . All these reasons, analysts said, are compelling the company to come up with a dramatic plan like issuing a bonus to restore confidence.

Once these bonus shares are issued , the cost of acquiring each share will fall to below Rs 430 for retail investors and Rs 450 for institutional and other categories of investors , a company release said. "Several companies have listed at below their offer price and have done nothing to compensate shareholders ... To that extent, this is a trendsetting move,'' the spokesperson said.

Usually, companies issue bonus shares from their reserves. But in this case, R-Power is a new entity and has no reserves to fall back on. It will have to use its share premium account to issue the bonus. Of the Rs 11,560 crore mobilized through the recent IPO, roughly Rs 11,300 crore is in the share premium account. How much of this will be utilized will depend on the ratio of shares it will issue as bonus.

Market players, although surprised , are divided on what it means. There is a school of thought which argues that this is the promoters' way of acknowledging they had overpriced the issue, an argument hotly contested by Reliance Power.


Largest IPO in Indian history mobilises Rs 11,560 crore. The issue was priced at Rs 430/share for retail investors and Rs 450 for others. When the bids opened on Jan 15, within 60 seconds it was oversubscribed two times.

Funds committed on Day 1 was a staggering $25 billion or about Rs 1 lakh crore. The IPO closed on Jan 18, with book-size of $190 billion or Rs 7.5 lakh crore. It was subscribed 73 times from 50 lakh applications l Listed on the bourses on Feb 11, opens trading at Rs 548.

Within seconds, falls to Rs 430. Stock hammered in first three sessions, with all-time low of Rs 333 and a high of 599. On listing day, the sensex crashes 834 points. Current price Rs 385, Current market cap Rs 87,000 crore and Total investor wealth lost since listing Rs 1,352 crore

REPL bonus proposal, FIIs, global cues to drive market

MUMBAI: A surprise bonus proposal from the recently-listed Reliance Power is sure to propel market sentiment on Monday. While the global cues are not negative, with the US markets closing flat on Friday, market players are expecting foreign funds to return to the Indian bourses soon. The week would also see the build-up of budget expectations, scheduled during the end of the current month, they said.

On Sunday, RelPower, which was listed on the bourses on February 11 following a highly-subscribed IPO, said it was proposing a bonus issue for non-promoter shareholders and its board would consider the proposal on February 24.

Market players believed this is sure to drive the stock on Monday and is expected to bring it closer to its IPO price of Rs 450 per share from its current price of Rs 385 on the BSE. This particular move coincides with the scheduled opening of the IPO for Rural Electrification Corporation on Tuesday.

On the global markets front, cues are not negative. On Friday, the US markets closed flat and Monday being a holiday there, speculators here could use the extra day to push up shares prices on Monday.

Last week, after two consecutive sessions of fall, the sensex had made a strong recovery in the next three sessions to end 650 points higher on a weekly basis as fears of a severe economic slowdown receded. This, market players believe could bring back the foreign fund managers who have so far this year have mostly been on the selling side.

Institutional dealers and top broking house officials believe unless foreign institutional investors (FIIs) come back to the market, it would be difficult for domestic institutions and retail investors to take the market higher.