India Equity: State-Run Refiners, Novartis, Reliance Industries

The following companies had unusual price changes in India trading. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are as of the 3:30 p.m. close in Mumbai.

The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, was little changed at 18,266.03. The BSE 200 Index was little changed at 2,273.57.

State-run Refiners: Indian Oil Corp. (IOCL IN), Bharat Petroleum Corp. (BPCL IN) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. (HPCL IN), the country’s three-biggest state refiners, gained after Oil Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said in New Delhi today a panel of Indian ministers will meet “shortly” to consider raising fuel prices. Indian Oil increased 3.1 percent to 323.25 rupees, the steepest since May 27, BPCL advanced 1.5 percent to 615 rupees and HPCL rallied 1.5 percent to 371.2 rupees. The refiners had a revenue loss of 450 billion rupees in the first quarter from selling fuel below cost, Reddy said.

Max India Ltd. (MAX IN) jumped 7.5 percent to 179.05 rupees, the steepest in more than four months. The hospital chain operator allotted about 24.1 million shares at 216.75 rupees apiece to a unit owned by a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fund on June 10, according to an exchange filing.

Novartis India Ltd. (HCBA IN) surged 12 percent to 848.2 rupees, the highest close in more than 11 years, on speculation that Novartis, Europe’s second-largest drugmaker by revenue, may buy rest of the shares in the local unit which it doesn’t own. The stock was the second-best performer on the BSE Mid-Cap Index. Novartis India spokeswoman Svetlana Pinto said the company doesn’t comment on “market speculation.”

Punj Lloyd Ltd. (PUNJ IN) climbed 7.7 percent to 70.9 rupees, the highest level in almost seven weeks. The engineering company won a 6.78 billion rupee ($151 million) from Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd., according to an exchange filing.

Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL IN), Reliance Industrial Infrastructure Ltd. (RIIL IN): Reliance, India’s biggest company by market value will acquire Bharti Enterprises Ltd.’s stake in its general and life insurance joint ventures with France’s Axa SA, according to e-mailed statements from both Indian companies. Reliance will hold 57 percent and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure 17 percent in the life and general insurance companies. The transaction’s value wasn’t disclosed.

Separately, India’s oil regulator has declined to recognize as commercial three natural gas discoveries in the KG-D6 block operated by Reliance Industries, the Press Trust of India reported, citing unidentified people. Reliance Industries slid 2 percent to 925.6 rupees, the steepest decline since May 18 and Reliance Industrial Infrastructure advanced 2.1 percent to 581.25 rupees, the highest close in four weeks.

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