GHCL contests SEBI order, requests personal hearing

Requesting a personal hearing with SEBI on 4 May 2009, soda ash maker GHCL Ltd. has expressed its objection to the regulator“s order at the end of April, by which the company and its top executives w…

Requesting a personal hearing with SEBI on 4 May 2009, soda ash maker GHCL Ltd. has expressed its objection to the regulator“s order at the end of April, by which the company and its top executives were barred from the securities market for promoter holding-related discrepancies. Stating that the SEBI“s interim ex-parte order of 20 April was causing great harm and prejudice to its reputation, GHCL is said to have written to the market regulator that it has always adhered to strict corporate governance and compliance principles and it did not violate any regulation with regard to the promoter shareholding disclosure. In the last week of April, during a press conference, GHCL Chairman Sanjay Dalmia said that SEBI had not given the company an opportunity to clarify regarding the discrepancy in the GHCL shareholding, before passing the order. The least SEBI could have done was to ask our opinion, as they have done in the case of other companies, he said. GHCL said that it has been filing its shareholding pattern based on the data received from the share transfer registrar each quarter, while the filings about shareholding of certain promoters also took into account information provided by them, believed to be true. However, after SEBI obliged companies to disclose share pledging, some promoters made disclosures about the same, and thus the company filed reconciled promoter holding for the past eight quarters, GHCL is reported as saying. GHCL also said it had made correct disclosures regarding promoter shareholding as soon as it was informed about the same and this submission was made prior to the order of 20 April and therefore the action against the company was unwarranted. The company added that the order has created rumours about it having indulged in wrongdoings, and other than affecting the company“s reputation, also affected its business plans and activities because two of its bankers have refused to release the enhanced working capital limits. Moreover, GHCL“s plans to buy back bonds and monetize its shareholding in some other companies have also been affected.