Shares of UPL, India’s largest pesticide company, plunge by 13% after whistleblower alleges promoter fraud

Shares of UPL, India’s largest pesticide company, plunge by 13% after whistleblower alleges promoter fraud
UPL
  • UPL share price fell by 13%, touching ₹416 before staging a marginal recovery on December 10.
  • According to a report, a whistleblower alleged that UPL promoters siphoned off money using shell companies and rent deals.
  • The whistleblower – a board member – has also alleged that shell companies carried out other illegal transactions.
  • UPL chief Jaidev Shroff issued a clarification, saying “the report is completely malicious.”
The UPL share price plunged by over 13% on Thursday, December 10, after a whistleblower alleged that the company’s promoters siphoned off money.

UPL is an agrochemical company, formerly known as United Phosphorus. The UPL share price at 11:40 am was ₹428.9, down by almost 13% compared to the closing price on December 9.

Shares of UPL, India’s largest pesticide company, plunge by 13% after whistleblower alleges promoter fraud
UPL share priceBSE / Business Insider / Flourish

According to an ET Prime report, a whistleblower has alleged that UPL entered into rent deals with a shell company owned by UPL employees. The report further added that UPL paid crores in rent for properties owned by the shell company, previously owned by UPL chief executive officer Jaidev Shroff.
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The report states that the whistleblower is a board member and has provided documents to corroborate their claims. It further notes that shell companies were used to carry out other illegal transactions.

In a clarification issued to CNBC-TV18, Shroff said that “the report is completely malicious”.

“Auditors had reviewed transactions between companies that had rented my residence. Rental agreement is cancelled, the house is no longer rented to UPL,” he added.
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Shroff also clarified that the company or its auditors had not received any fresh complaint. Its global auditor KPMG has not resigned yet, he said.

UPL has a presence in more than 138 countries, employs nearly 10,000 people worldwide

Thanks to its acquisition of Arysta LifeScience in 2019, UPL now has a presence in more than 138 countries and employs nearly 10,000 people across the world. Pesticides accounted for over 88% of the company’s sales in 2019.

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Here are some of the key metrics of UPL:

Market capitalization$4.44 billion*
Revenue (FY20)$5.03 billion
Growth year-on-year13%
Patents1,266
Manufacturing facilities44

Note: Market capitalization is based on the UPL share price and USD-INR exchange rate as of 2 pm, December 10.

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