Dewan Housing Finance Corp Ltd (DHFL) saw its shares fall more than 9 percent on Wednesday, as the Indian firm’s rebuttal of a media report alleging financial misappropriation failed to stop investors selling the stock.
Investigative media outlet Cobrapost on Tuesday said Dewan diverted funds to shell companies to buy assets, and that firms linked to Dewan’s controlling shareholders - the Wadhawan group - made political donations beyond mandated levels.
Dewan, one of India’s largest housing finance companies, on Wednesday said the report was unfounded and malicious, and that it had engaged lawyers to defend itself.
Cobrapost told Reuters it stood by its reporting.
“DHFL has never lent to a shell company,” Chairman Kapil Wadhawan said on a call with media, investors and analysts. Neither it nor its units made any political donations, he said.
Shares of Dewan fell as much as 9.3 percent to 153.85 rupees on Wednesday before Wadhawan’s comments were made public.
The stock, which was down 6 percent in mid-morning trade, has lost over 8 billion rupees ($112.26 million) in value since the report was published 30 minutes before the market closed on Tuesday. It has lost a third of its value since Jan. 1.
During the call, Wadhawan also addressed liquidity concerns in India’s non-banking lending sector, saying Dewan is well-financed and has never defaulted on a loan.
“We are committed to have adequate liquidity to meet commitments for the next twelve months,” Wadhawan said.
He also said Dewan, which is selling its life insurance business, will shortly raise debt from overseas markets.