Religare Enterprises Ltd. failed to disclose employee stock options issued to Chairperson Rashmi Saluja in its subsidiary Care Health Insurance Ltd., according to a report by InGovern.
The 2.27-crore options, representing 2.5% of the share capital and valued at over Rs 250 crore, were granted to Saluja in January 2022, the report said. The options were issued at a “deep discount” of an exercise price of Rs 45.32 per share, it said.
“It is worth noting that the company has mentioned Rs 45.62 per share as the estimated fair value of the shares of Care while in the same year, rights issue of Care shares was at a price of Rs 110 per share,” InGovern said.
“The remuneration includes perquisite value of ESOPs exercised only and not of unexercised ESOPs as the gain (if any) accrues only at the time of exercise of ESOPs,” Pratap Venugopal, independent director at Care Health Insurance, told BQ Prime.
However, the report further alleged that these ESOPs are also in contravention of the insurance regulator’s laws, which “contemplate” issuance of stock options only to chief executive officers, whole-time directors and managing directors, the report said.
ESOPs were granted to Saluja “only in her capacity as employee/Executive Director and Chairperson of REL,” Venugopal said. The ESOPs were not granted to her in her capacity as Non-Executive Chairperson of Care Health Insurance, he said.
However, these ESOP holdings find no mention in Religare’s annual reports.
InGovern alleges that the options were issued even before the outcome of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s approval was sought on the issue. The IRDAI also pointed out that Saluja’s remuneration, after issuing ESOP, would not be in line with remuneration of other non-executive directors of Care, the report noted.
Meanwhile, Venugopal denies that such a transaction requires permission from IRDAI as the remuneration to the Chairman of the Board can be decided by the Board of Directors.
Hence, a resolution, “after due consideration” by the Nomination and Remuneration Committee, was passed unanimously by the Board of Care, which includes Kedaara Capital which has substantial investment to the tune of Rs 567.3 crore in Care, he said.
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