The investment fund of Wipro’s billionaire chairman Azim Premji has mopped up nearly half the shares on offer in the recently concluded qualified institutional placement (QIP) by Tata Group’s retail arm Trent Ltd. PI Opportunities Fund I, which is part of the billionaire’s private investment arm PremjiInvest, has acquired 4.91 per cent in Trent for Rs 122 crore.

The transaction will make PremjiInvest the single largest shareholder after the promoter Tata Group, which holds combined stake of 28.6 per cent. The issue involved sale of nearly 10 per cent stake in the company.

PI Opportunities Fund I bought 1.33 million shares in the QIP that offered 2.74 million shares. The shares were sold for Rs 912 a unit last week and the issue was reportedly subscribed over two times. PI Opportunities Fund I is registered as a venture capital fund with the market regulator SEBI.

Shares of Trent Ltd were down 0.86 per cent at Rs 923 per unit at 1:17 pm on Tuesday in a Mumbai market down 0.22 per cent. At this price, Trent had a market capitalisation of Rs 2,510 crore.

Standard Chartered Securities (India) and JM Financial Consultants were bankers to the issue. 

Other shareholders in Trent include Xander Group’s Siddhartha Yog, Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund and Government Pension Fund Global, as well as mutual funds and insurance companies. 

For the nine-month period ending December 2011, Trent reported 21.6 per cent increase in sales to Rs 659.32 crore although its net profit slipped 18.5 per cent to Rs 27.74 crore, as compared to the same period last year.

Trent runs retail chains in formats like Westside (lifestyle), Star Bazaar (hypermarket chain), Landmark (books and music chain) and Fashion Yatra (family fashion store).

According to its prospectus, Trent plans to use the funds for expansion, including setting up retail stores and investments in certain retail real estate developments. The fund will be also utilised to meet working capital requirements.

Recent investments made by PremjiInvest include 7 per cent stake buy in ethnic retailer Fabindia and fund infusion in cancer care chain HealthCare Global.

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