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

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. 38131368 11271169
IDFC Ltd. 19193070 7125987
Tata Motors Ltd. 23782400 6409991
Vedanta Ltd. 6629204 4935494
Power Grid Corporation Of India Ltd. 122000424 4557420
NCC Ltd. 6509107 4404072
Steel Authority Of India Ltd. 26894427 3851741
Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. 10420381 3609233
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. 10505927 3135259
ICICI Bank Ltd. 78452766 2286882
HDFC Bank Ltd. 31653601 2164254
Rallis India Ltd. 6668919 1446869
Bank Of Baroda 4012744 1421523
Coal India Ltd. 3834627 1401862
Punjab National Bank 20175753 1296708
Tech Mahindra Ltd. 19451251 1279248
Mahindra & Mahindra Financial 1176801 1125938
Apollo Tyres Ltd. 12232655 1086340

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. 25400851 4971184
Union Bank Of India 26308658 4436000
Tata Motors Ltd. 7270859 4055960
MEP Infrastructure Developers Ltd. 6907486 3830386
Punjab National Bank 46595128 3002004
Tata Steel Ltd. 20416799 2840427
Bank Of Baroda 101664811 2752528
ICICI Bank Ltd. 129596114 2466568
State Bank Of India 156390577 2211316
ITC Ltd. 25489316 1921356
Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. 2309900 1704400
Cummins India Ltd. 1507000 1500000
Sadbhav Engineering Ltd. 12058223 1412000
HDFC Bank Ltd. 14554907 904328
Shriram Transport Finance Company Ltd. 900500 733000
Coal India Ltd. 5830651 574650
Yes Bank Ltd. 3205348 524476
Hexaware Technologies Ltd. 5300000 500000

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.