Published On: Tue, Mar 13th, 2012

Azim Premji Trust raises Rs 750 Cr through share auctions

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Azim Premji Trust of Wipro’s billionaire founder Azim Premji has raised $150 million or Rs 750 Crore in an auction of the Wipro an Indian software major’s shares, roughly half of the target, clouding the outlook for a newly approved stock auction process.

Sales of up to 35 million shares or around a 1.4 per cent stake in the software company were planned on the stock market via a new auction process to fund education projects.  Proceeds from the share sale will be used to finance the education activities of the Azim Premji Foundation, a non-profit unit set up by the founder to improve the quality of education in the country, a company statement sai.  The stake of about 35 million shares was valued at about 15.32 billion rupees based on its Monday market closing price of 437.75 rupees.

Premji and his family own about 79 per cent of India’a third-largest software exporter through various units that include the Azim Premji Trust, which was selling the shares.

Wipro, which is also listed in New York, is India’s 11th most valuable company with a market capitalisation of more than $21 billion.

In January, India’s market regulator gave permission to shareholders of the country’s top 100 companies by market value to raise funds by auctioning their stakes via stock exchanges.

Citigroup Inc, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Credit Suisse have been hired by Wipro as brokers for the share auction process, it said.

Wipro, which develops software applications, integrates IT systems and manages call centres, is part of India’s export-driven $76 billion software services industry.

Azim Premji Foundation works in the area of elementary education to pilot and develop ‘proofs of concept’ that have a potential for systemic change in India’s 1.3 million government-run schools. It has also set up Azim Premji University to develop outstanding programmes of learning, research and advocacy in education and allied development domains.