In a path-breaking development, NRI businessman M A Yusuf Ali has cornered 4.99 per cent shares of the 93-year-old Thrissur-based Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB).
Yusuf, a Dubai-based businessman from Kerala, who of late has been striving to consolidate his presence at home, is eyeing another three per cent stake in the bank.
“Following the RBI approval, the share transaction is through now. The formalities will be completed in two-three days. If the regulator allows we are ready to take another three per cent shares in the bank,” Yusuf, Chairman, EmkeGroup, told Express over phone.
According to sources familiar with the deal, the transaction may have been done for a consideration of `35 crore, considering that a recent CSB stake sale of around one per cent involved a consideration of `7 crore.
Financial analysts point out that a valuation of `700 crore for CSB was par for the course, though a bit on the high side, considering the market cap of the relatively larger Dhanlaxmi Bank is way below that.
Yusuf picked up the CSB shares from Thai businessman Sura Chanrichawla, who is the largest shareholder of the bank. With this transaction the shareholding of Chanrichawla will come down to 13 per cent from 18 per cent.
In February, the bank had sold nearly one per cent stake held by Chanrichawla to Rakesh Bhatia, managing director of CSB, who was with the HSBC Group till a month ago. Chanrichawla had reduced his stake from 43 per cent that he held initially to 18 per cent. The mopping up of shares by Yusuf Ali got Reserve Bank of India approval on Wednesday.
The bank had decided to offload the stake in February this year and was awaiting RBI nod. RBI has made its prior approval mandatory for any stake sale of more than one per cent of CSB’s equity shares, unlike in the case of other banks where an investor is free to buy up to five per cent shares.
Among other major stakeholders of CSB are Mumbai-based brokerage Edelwiess (4.99 per cent) and three Hong Kong-based funds (around 14 per cent). According to CSB officials, the church is fully supportive of the move.