Shipping Corp. Advances in Mumbai After India Approves $291 Million Sale

Shipping Corp. of India, the nation’s largest sea-cargo carrier, surged the most in more than 16 months in Mumbai trading after the government said it will sell part of its stake in the company.

Shipping Corp. rose 14 percent to 192.05 rupees at the 3:30 p.m. trading close, the most since May 18, 2009. Shares of the Mumbai-based company earlier climbed as much as 21 percent, the biggest intraday gain since May 2004.

The government said yesterday it will sell a 10 percent stake, or about 42.3 million shares, cutting its holding and boosting market liquidity. Shipping Corp. will issue the same amount in new shares, raising funds to pay for a planned doubling of capacity in five years as the nation’s demand for coal and steel boosts shipping traffic.

“‘Investors are excited about the larger float of shares,” said Deven Choksey, chief executive officer at K.R. Choksey Shares & Securities Pvt., which manages the equivalent of $124 million in assets.

The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of commodity-shipping costs, “has also started looking up,” Choksey said. The index rose 3.7 percent yesterday, its third straight session of gains.

The government’s holding will fall to 63.75 percent from 80.12 percent after the share sale.

Rivals’ Shares Gain

Shares of other Indian shipping companies also advanced today. Great Eastern Shipping Co. rose 3.3 percent to 334.70 rupees, Mercator Lines Ltd. climbed 4.7 percent to 66.20 rupees, and Essar Shipping Ports & Logistics Ltd. gained 1.7 percent to 118.65 rupees.

China Cosco Holdings Co., Asia’s largest shipping line by market value, climbed 6 percent to HK$9.58 at the 4 p.m. close in Hong Kong trading.

The Shipping Corp. stake sale is part of a government plan to raise as much as 400 billion rupees ($9 billion) in the year ending March 31 by selling shares in state-controlled companies, including Coal India Ltd. and Steel Authority of India Ltd.

The sale of shares in the shipping line will generate about 13 billion rupees, the government said, without specifying when the stock will be sold. Based on Shipping Corp.’s closing price of 168 rupees yesterday, the share sale would raise 14.2 billion rupees.

“There is an increase in commodity prices and the demand momentum is surfacing again,” said K.K. Mital, who manages the equivalent of $11.3 million in assets at New Delhi-based Globe Capital Market Ltd. “The expectation is international trade will go up, so demand for freight movement will go up and firm up freight rates.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Subramaniam Sharma in New Delhi at ssharma@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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