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Yusuffali to pick up 4.99 per cent stake in Catholic Syrian Bank

Yusuffali to pick up 4.99 per cent stake in Catholic Syrian Bank

Mumbai: Dubai-based Kerala businessman Yusuffali M. A., who runs the largest retail chain Lulu Centre in the UAE, has agreed to pick up 4.99 per cent stake in Catholic Syrian Bank from its largest shareholder Sura Chansrichawla and is awaiting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) nod, said bank Chairman S. Santhanakrishnan.

The CSB chief said he had appointed Rakesh Bhatia from the HSBC Group as the new Managing Director, who had also picked up around one per cent in the Thrissur-based unlisted bank.

“The Lulu Centre promoter has agreed to pick up 4.99 per cent stake in CSB from Bangkok-based NRI businessman Mr. Chansrichawla, and is awaiting RBI approval. If the regulator allows, Mr. Yusuffali is willing to pick up another 3 per cent stake from Chansrichawla,” Santhanakrishnan told PTI from Chennai on Tuesday. When contacted in Dubai, Mr. Yusuffali’s office said he was touring Europe, and, thus, could not elicit his comment.

If the deal goes through, Mr. Chansrichawla could partially meet the March 31 RBI deadline to bring down his stake in the 93-year-old lender to around 13 per cent from the present 18 per cent.

“Another nearly one per cent stake of Chansrichawla has been picked up by Rakesh Bhatia, who is the new Managing Director of the bank,” Mr. Santhanakrishnan said.

Mr. Santhanakrishnan further said, “Mr. Bhatia, who comes from the HSBC Group, is bringing in Rs.7.50 crore to the bank apart from his vast experience. Mr. Bhatia has already put in around Rs.6 crore for around one per cent stake and he is committed to invest another Rs.1.50 crore.”

The RBI has made its prior approval mandatory for any stake sale in CSB running into more than one per cent of its total shares, unlike other banks where an investor is free to buy up to 5 per cent equity.

Mumbai-based brokerage Edelwiess holds 4.99 per cent in the bank, while around 14 per cent is owned by three Hong Kong-based funds.

Bangkok-based NRI businessman Chanrichawla has got many extensions from the RBI since, 2010, to trim his stake. The current deadline to do so is March 31.

Though many times he could identify an investor in the past, the NRI failed to satisfy the RBI with the prospective buyer.


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