OGDC share prices plunge on alleged manipulation

ISLAMABAD: Shares in Pakistan’s biggest firm Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) plunged maximum of 5 percent in an intraday trade on Wednesday due to apparent market manipulations that followed on rumors that the government plans to divest its 7 percent stake in the company at a discount rate, brokers said.

They said investors went into stampede-selling and the OGDC share price hit the lower lock, but the day became even more interesting when an abnormally large buying of its shares was seen in the last hour. The company accumulated volume of around 20 million shares.

Stocks prices recovered a little in late hour heavy buying, which left analysts just as puzzled about the sudden drop as they had been about a long run-up in the share price of the company.

“Government is pricing OGDCL at Rs129/share for 7 percent stake sale created panic in the market… Some seasoned players were behind it,” a broker said.

An SECP spokesperson said the commission has “an effective and well-equipped Surveillance Department that monitors stocks’ day to day trading. We also thoroughly look into all material information that shared with SECP”.

“However, we do not and cannot comment publicly on any ongoing matter/proceedings until we conclude and pass an order on it,” the spokesperson added.

So uncertain became the situation that Privatization Commission had to intervene by issuing a clarification terming these reports as baseless. However, the commission clarification came after the closing bell.

The Privatization commission informed the PSX and stakeholders that appointment of Financial Advisors (FAs) for the divestment up to 7 percent shares of OGDCL was in process. “After the appointment, the FAs would carry out comprehensive due diligence and later suggest on suitable transaction structure for consideration of the government,” it added.

“There is absolutely no consideration to offer OGDC shares either at a discount of on an historical average. Any rumors pertaining to transaction size or discounted divestment price are strongly refuted.”

“Up to 7 percent OGDCL shares will be offered at a value that is best reflective of the fundamentals of OGDC including its strong financials,” the commission said.

The OGDCL being the major oil and Gas Company of Pakistan and its shares are also listed on the London Stock Exchange; such noticeable manipulation will hurt the interest of the people and also make the investors shy away from this market, where many manipulators are holding major seats.

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