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United Phosphorus Surges on Plan to Buy Companies

United Phosphorus Ltd., India’s biggest pesticides maker by value, rose the most in 11 months after it told analysts that it may acquire a company by year-end.

The company’s low net debt gives it “a much higher financial ability to address inorganic growth opportunities,” Chief Financial Officer S. Krishnan said in a conference call with analysts according to a transcript. “We believe during the course of the year, we should be able to close transactions.”

The shares climbed 14 percent to 168.4 rupees as of 2:20 p.m. in Mumbai, making it the best performer on the 984-member MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index. An acquisition will be the first for United Phosphorus in three years. The company bought three rivals in 2007.

“The shares are up because acquisition was a surprising factor,” said Sangeeta Tripathi, a Mumbai-based analyst at Sharekhan Ltd. who rates the shares a “buy.” “The stock is trading at cheaper valuations if you compare it with other companies.”

The maker of Doom pesticides is trading at 10.6 times its future earnings, compared with 13 times earnings for Tata Chemicals Ltd. and 27.7 times earnings for Daido Steel Co., the second-best performer on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index today.

United Phosphorus, yesterday said net income rose to 5.3 billion rupees ($119 million) in the year ended March 31, from 4.9 billion rupees a year earlier.

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