Azim Premji
Wipro Chairman Azim Premji.Reuters

Iconic businessman Azim Premji and the promoter group of Wipro Ltd have sold stocks worth around one billion (Rs 7,300 crore) in the company. The major chunk of the money is expected to be contributed to Azim Premji foundation, which is one of five largest private institutions conducting philanthropic activities, the Economic Times reported.

In a statement, Wipro said that its founder-chairman, Azim Premji has sold 224.6 million shares in the recent share buyback programme, which means he sold around about 3.96 percent of the total equity held.

Earlier in March, Premji donated all the earnings from 67 percent of Wipro shares that were valued at over Rs 1.45 lakh crore, or $21 billion to the Azim Premji Foundation, making it one the biggest donations ever made by any corporate in India. The Azim Premji Foundation working with central and state governments as well the local teachers has contributed immensely towards improving the quality of primary education across several states.

KR Lakshminarayana, chief endowment officer of Azim Premji Foundation, said, "All the money Premji has committed to the trust is for philanthropy. It goes into a corpus." However, one of the officials from Wipro said the company "cannot comment on the end use of the funds received under buyback by promoter entities".

In a statement, the company said, "As previously disclosed, founder chairman Azim Premji has irrevocably renounced 67 per cent of the economic ownership of Wipro to the Endowment which supports the philanthropic activities of the Azim Premji Foundation." The Premji family and entities hold around 73.83 per cent stake in India's fourth-largest software firm and after the buyback programme, the promoter's will increase their holdings in the company to 74.05 per cent as Wipro will cancel the stock that it has bought back.

Azim Premji
Wipro Group Chairman Azim Premji.Reuters File

Analysts are positive about the company's good performance due to the initiatives carried out by the Azim Premji foundation on India's premature philanthropy ecosystem. Deval Sanghavi, co-founder of venture philanthropy fund Dasra argued, "They (Premji and his trusts) are the largest givers in this continent. They have been supporting a variety of activities such as nutrition, domestic violence, independent media, empowerment of adolescent girls and education." He further added, "As India progresses to become a middle-income country, large international donors will start pulling out. At that stage, we will need hundreds of Azim Premji's to help solve some of India's pressing needs."