The Patanjali Ayurved-owned Ruchi Soya Industries has onboarded the Mumbai-based Authum Investment and Infrastructure, related to Sanjay Dangi who had a run-in with the markets regulator in the past, as one of its anchor investors.

The FMCG major, ahead of its follow-on public offer, had raised ₹1,290 crore from a clutch of anchor investors by placing 1.98 crore shares at ₹650 a share. Authum was the third-largest investor in the placement, cornering 6.4% of the total shares under offer, with the ASK-group owned India Emerging Opportunities Fund and SBI Life Insurance picking up 9.7% (19.22 lakh shares) each.

Authum is majority-owned and controlled by Alpana Dangi, wife of Sanjay Dangi who in 2010 got into the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) crosshairs over allegations of collusion with promoters to manipulate a handful of stocks. Dangi, though, was later exonerated by SEBI.

While Alpana Dangi owns 65.30% stake in Authum, another promoter entity Mentor Capital holds 4.98% stake, taking the cumulative promoter stake to 70.28%. Sanjay, also a director in Mentor Capital, holds along with his relatives more than 2% stake in Authum. A qualified CA and company secretary, the 51-year-old is a non-executive and non-independent director in the company.

In fact, the Mumbai-based non-banking finance company has also emerged as the highest bidder for the bankrupt Anil Ambani's Reliance Home Finance (listed) and Reliance Commercial Finance (unlisted). The lenders had selected Authum as the successful bidder through a competitive bidding process. The implementation of the resolution plan by the successful bidder is, however, subject to approval of non-inter-creditor agreement lenders, shareholders, regulatory authorities and, disposal of legal injunctions on the company. Authum had bid for the mortgage finance business of Reliance Home Finance for ₹3,217 crore against the settlement of all financial creditors of the company.

As per Authum's annual report, the company invests in public listed and unlisted companies (provided growth capital), private equity investments, real estate investment & debt investments. In FY21, its assets under management stood at ₹1,922.37 crore, a 177% growth over the previous financial year. From ₹57.24 crore in FY19, the value of its investments had gone up to ₹1,625 crore in FY21. While aggregate revenue increased by 2,527% to ₹265.89 crore in FY21, PAT was up 985% to ₹135.31 crore.

The annual report states the decision to bid for the mortgage business was because "the time had come to graduate from liquid investments in our investment portfolio business to create a business that was deeply aligned with our national policy, was being supported by fiscal incentives and would be increasingly relevant for the next few decades."

Incidentally, on March 23, Authum Investment in a notice said "the exchanges have sought clarification from with reference to significant movement in price, in order to ensure that investors have latest relevant information about the company and to inform the market so that the interest of the investors is safeguarded."

In August 2020, the markets regulator lifted its 2016 trading ban on Ruchi Global and Ruchi Soya Industries in a case related to alleged manipulation in castor seeds trading. In March 2021, SEBI directed seven entities to disgorge over ₹5.75 crore of unlawful gains made from indulging in manipulative trading in the shares of Ruchi Soya in 2012.

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