Mutual fund goes light on Bharti Airtel, Idea, ONGC, Cairn India

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ICICI Prudential, India’s fifth biggest mutual fund by equity holdings, increased its cash holdings in May by selling most of its holdings in Bharti Airtel and much of its holdings in ONGC, Crompton Greaves, Cairn India, Hindalco and SJVN, publicly available numbers revealed.


Mutual funds typically increase cash holdings when they expect share prices to correct, or when fresh cash inflows outpace the rate at which they can make investments.

The overall trend in the Indian mutual fund industry from April to May was towards having more cash.

ICICI Prudential was the most aggressive of the Indian mutual funds, with its cash holdings rising to 8% of its total equity portfolio, up from 6% in April. In all, it added 1,237.5 cr to its cash holdings during the month — the highest addition by far.

With 3,923.3 cr, ICICI Pru also ended up having the highest cash holdings of all Indian mutual funds.

Another aggressive mover into cash was SBI Mutual Fund. As of end-May, SBI had 1,559.5 cr in cash, which formed 7% of its equity portfolio size. End-April, SBI Mutual Fund had just 904.8 cr, or 4% of its portfolio, in cash.

The biggest player in the industry, HDFC Mutual fund, did not make any big share-to-cash switch, with its cash ratio remaining at 2% of total equity holdings. HDFC’s cash reserves in its equity funds increased to 1593.4 cr from 1,120.3 cr that it had at the end of April.

Reliance Mutual Fund also increased its cash to 1,204 cr from 768 cr in the previous month.


The most aggressive mover, ICICI Pru, got rid of most of the shares it held in Bharti Airtel. It sold 82 lakh shares of the telecom operator in May, ending up with just 65 lakh by the end of the month.

The mutual fund completely exited six stocks, including Prestige Estate Projects, Oberoi Realty, JK Lakshmi Cement, Jet Airways and Adani Enterprises.

Another stock that fell out of favor with ICICI Pru during the month was Crompton Greaves. It cut its holdings by about 30% to 1.1 cr shares.

ICICI also slashed its holdings in stocks such has ONGC, Rain Industries, Hindalco, SJVN etc.. (see chart below.)

Bharti Airtel Ltd.6500706-8194790
SJVN Ltd.25357211-5791325
Crompton Greaves Ltd.11304172-5169702
Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.9725948-3905990
Rain Industries Ltd.23688759-3707156
Hindalco Industries Ltd.14113253-3348347
Cairn India Ltd.7026627-2159185
Jaiprakash Associates Ltd.23374585-2000000
Container Corporation Of India Ltd.1342441-1854258
Reliance Industries Ltd.13194620-1442288
DCB Bank Ltd.8192488-1273895
Prism Cement Ltd.6565431-1217243
TVS Motor Company Ltd.329958-1200000
Tata Global Beverages Ltd.15156027-1047253
Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd.3552025-1000000
City Union Bank Ltd.18129694-672806
Idea Cellular Ltd.5870166-631675
Aban Offshore Ltd.2498042-602251

On the positive side, ICICI Pru increased its exposure to NTPC by about 40% to 3.8 cr shares. It also tanked up on IDFC, Tata Motors, Vedanta Ltd, Power Grid Corp, NCC etc.. (see chart below).

NTPC Ltd.3813136811271169
IDFC Ltd.191930707125987
Tata Motors Ltd.237824006409991
Vedanta Ltd.66292044935494
Power Grid Corporation Of India Ltd.1220004244557420
NCC Ltd.65091074404072
Steel Authority Of India Ltd.268944273851741
Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Ltd.104203813609233
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.105059273135259
ICICI Bank Ltd.784527662286882
HDFC Bank Ltd.316536012164254
Rallis India Ltd.66689191446869
Bank Of Baroda40127441421523
Coal India Ltd.38346271401862
Punjab National Bank201757531296708
Tech Mahindra Ltd.194512511279248
Mahindra & Mahindra Financial11768011125938
Apollo Tyres Ltd.122326551086340

Among the newly entered stocks were DCM Shriram and Arvind Infra.


Among the new stocks that it bought during the month were DCM Shriram and Arvind Infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the biggest player in the equity mutual fund industry, HDFC, also got rid of nearly half of its holdings in a telecom player – Idea Cellular.

HDFC Mutual Fund cut the number of Idea Cellular shares it held by 66 lakh to 73.8 lakh. It also sold 12.3 lakh shares of Bharti Airtel, though it still held about 3.9 cr shares in the company at the end of the month.

HDFC MF was, however, far less aggressive than ICICI Pru in terms of churn. The next big ‘out move’ it made was in Zee Media Corp — the news arm of Zee group. It lost 33.8 lakh shares in the stock to bring down total exposure to 2.0 cr shares. (see chart below)

Idea Cellular Ltd.7382629-6596197
Zee Media Corporation Ltd.20374783-3384150
Cipla Ltd.9374620-1402158
Bharti Airtel Ltd.39127166-1250956
Power Grid Corporation Of India Ltd.23667076-1194074
Aurobindo Pharma Ltd.12902341-832000
Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd.6693817-794280
Reliance Industries Ltd.15237491-685466
Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.2746380-357862
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.1345136-331144
UPL Ltd.7152300-322000
Voltas Ltd.9800400-257000
ACC Ltd.1344488-244749
IndusInd Bank Ltd.2473383-228832
Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd.2879100-224650
Amara Raja Batteries Ltd.2600000-204000
SKF India Ltd.2533437-155340
Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd.82160-153995

HDFC completely exited only one stock during the month – Pantaloons Fashion and Retail – by selling all 1 lakh shares it held in the company.

On the positive side, it more than doubled its exposure to Tata Motors by buying 40.6 lakh shares and taking its total holding to 72.7 lakh shares.

It also made a similar aggressive move towards MEP Infrastructure Developers, Cummins India and Chennai Petroleum. (see chart)

Axis Bank Ltd.254008514971184
Union Bank Of India263086584436000
Tata Motors Ltd.72708594055960
MEP Infrastructure Developers Ltd.69074863830386
Punjab National Bank465951283002004
Tata Steel Ltd.204167992840427
Bank Of Baroda1016648112752528
ICICI Bank Ltd.1295961142466568
State Bank Of India1563905772211316
ITC Ltd.254893161921356
Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd.23099001704400
Cummins India Ltd.15070001500000
Sadbhav Engineering Ltd.120582231412000
HDFC Bank Ltd.14554907904328
Shriram Transport Finance Company Ltd.900500733000
Coal India Ltd.5830651574650
Yes Bank Ltd.3205348524476
Hexaware Technologies Ltd.5300000500000

HDFC MF increased its exposure to Infosys, while cutting it for TCS. It also newly entered Cognizant Technology Solutions by buying 1.92 lakh shares of the US-listed company. Other new entries included PNC Infratech and Ramco Industries.

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