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Wednesday, Mar 27, 2002

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Fertiliser stocks in the limelight

Aparna Krishnan

MUMBAI, March 26

AFTER a rough run on the bourses last year, the fertiliser stocks are back in the reckoning with turnaround stories, good harvest expectations and hopes on disinvesment helping them gain momentum.

In the past few days, there has been a steady rise in frontline fertiliser stocks such as Gujarat State Fertiliser and Chemicals (GSFC), Deepak Fertilizer, Nagarjuna Fertiliser and Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertiliser Corporation (GNFC).

Analysts say that the Government's decision to divest stake in some of the public sector units in the fertiliser industry could be the main reason for this rally. "Primarily, the disinvestment of Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd has spurred the interest in fertiliser stocks," said an analyst from an Indian brokerage firm.

Among the scrips that have done well are stocks such as Chambal Fertilisers (closed at Rs 11.95, up by 3.46 per cent on the BSE today), SPIC (Rs 7, down 0.71 per cent) and Tata Chemicals (Rs 43.20, down 0.69 per cent).

GSFC's scrip has witnessed some intense activity in the past few days and appreciated by over seven per cent after reaching a high of Rs 18.6 on March 11. Today, the scrip went up by 20 per cent on the NSE to close at Rs 25.70 and on the BSE, it closed at Rs 25.75, up 19.91 per cent.

Industry watchers said one major reason that had contributed to the upsurge was the expectation of a good monsoon and harvest. "A good monsoon is expected this year which could mean better harvests and consequently, fertilisers companies will be benefited immensely," said the industry source.

On the back of this, the stock of private sector companies such as Deepak Fertilizer has also risen. Today, the scrip closed at Rs 16.85, up 1.81 per cent on the BSE and on the NSE, it closed at Rs 16.85, up 0.59 per cent.

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