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After a buoyant 2021, this year has been a bit of a bummer for India’s stock market. The S&P BSE Sensex, a key equity index, is down 2% since January, compared to a 20% jump last year. But as always, there are stocks that have bucked this trend. And among those are companies whose rally can be a real head-scratcher.

Tata Investment Corporation Ltd (TICL) is one such entity.

TICL is anything but an instantly recognisable name from the 154-year-old conglomerate—unlike information-technology (IT) firm Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), jewellery and watch manufacturer Titan Company Ltd, and carmaker Tata Motors Ltd.

But TICL shares have fared much better than those of its much larger cousins, rising 65% in 2022. In September, TICL shares hit an all-time high of Rs 2,885 (~US$35). And they have since slid 20%, and the stock is now worth more than Rs 11,800 crore (US$1.4 billion).

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As its name suggests, TICL’s core business is investing in a range of listed and privately held companies, venture-capital funds, corporate bonds, and government securities. Its portfolio includes oil-to-telecom behemoth Reliance Industries Ltd and TCS rival Infosys Ltd, the unlisted National Stock Exchange of India Ltd National Stock Exchange of India Ltd The Ken How India’s National Stock Exchange turned from solution to problem Read more , and one of VC firm 3one4 Capital’s funds.

But these investments are a sideshow to TICL’s holdings in other Tata  Group entities. For instance, TICL owns 6% of Tata Chemicals Ltd, nearly 5% of Tata Consumer Products Ltd, and 3% of consumer-appliance maker Voltas Ltd. “Tata Investment is just a Tata Group ETF ETF ETF An exchange-traded fund operates like a mutual fund tracking an index but is traded on a stock exchange. ,” says the head of research at a domestic mutual-fund house. They and a few others quoted in the story did not want to be identified as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

TICL is among the minor holding companies (holdcos) of the corporate house, whose key investment vehicle is Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd. But unlike Tata Industries, which also has small stakes in listed Tata companies, TICL doesn’t incubate any new businesses. (The privately held Tata Industries set up the e-commerce venture Tata CLiQ Tata CLiQ The Ken Tata CLiQ’s quest for the Holy Grail of e-commerce—profitability Read more , and the telemedicine service Tata Health, among others.)

What’s more, neither domestic nor overseas institutional investors really care for TICL.

AUTHOR

Seetharaman G

Starting out as a business journalist in 2008, Seetharaman has written about energy, climate change, retail, banking, and technology. He has worked with Business Today, a fortnightly, and the Sunday edition of The Economic Times.

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