Unusual movement of share price alarms Hum Network

Published August 12, 2020
A letter by the company to the SECP has expressed concern over the purchase of shares by Kingsway Capital and the JS Group. — Online/File
A letter by the company to the SECP has expressed concern over the purchase of shares by Kingsway Capital and the JS Group. — Online/File

ISLAMABAD: The Hum Network Limited has asked the stock exchange and the corporate sector regulator to investigate the surge in sale and purchase of the company’s shares, expressing suspicious change of hands.

A letter dated August 10 was forwarded to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to investigate the matter related to unusual movement of the company’s share price and the information should be made available to the public and the shareholders of the company.

As the letter was received by the SECP on Tuesday and a senior official confided that the matter would be taken as a complaint. But, he added, comments could not be made on it till the investigation was completed.

The letter by the company’s secretary said: “It has been observed that there is undue movement in the share price of the company. The price of the share has increased from Rs2.31 per share to Rs17.05 per share during April 3, 2020 to June 18, 2020.”

PSX, regulator urged to probe matter

The Hum Network Limited runs and operates four satellite TV channels — Hum TV, Masala TV, Hum Sitare and Hum News — and the letter by the company has expressed concern over the purchase of shares by Kingsway Capital and the JS Group. The concerns were not unwarranted and based on the legal requirements, the chief of the company said, adding that the takeover laws of the country demanded that any abnormal movement of shares had to be reported to the regulators.

“The recent trade history has suspicious transactions and it needs to be investigated,” Duraid Qureshi, the CEO of Hum Network Ltd said, adding: “We have informed as a company about the indications and the information forwarded to the stock exchange was requirement of the law.”

The company has highlighted that during April and May 2020 Aitkenstruart Pakistan (APPL) acquired around 83.46 million shares of the company which accounts to around 8.83 per cent of the total shares of the company.

It has also been stated that the APPL might have accumulated or sold more shares in the open market, but any such information was not available to the company (Hum Network) and, therefore, the actual figures need to be investigated and informed to the public.

The other major movement in the ownership of company’s shares was at the hands of Munaf Ibrahim of Cedar Capital, JS Group and Kingsway Capital.

The letter by the company has expressed suspicion that all the parties were acting in collusion and the regulators needed to investigate the matter as among several intentions received by the company to contest elections of directors, six persons are directly or indirectly related to the JS Group of Companies.

Meanwhile, the PSX has started looking into the matter and an official of the stock exchange said that the law demanded any investor to disclose their intent if the shares of any company above the threshold limit of 9pc are purchased. Similarly, the takeover intent has to be disclosed if shares of over 29pc are obtained by any investor. “This is to protect the small investors and allow them to know what was happening in the scrip they own,” the official added.

The annual general meeting of Hum Network Limited is scheduled to be held on August 22 and it could witness unexpected proceedings as the current management holds around 29pc shares of the company and the opponents are able to bag more than that number.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2020

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