DB under SEBI probe over dividend payment

Kochi, July 26: | Updated: Jul 30 2002, 05:30am hrs
Thrissur-based Dhanalakshmi Bank which has been under scrutiny of the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) over the decision to pay dividend to shareholders of the recent rights issue is yet to receive the Reserve Bank’s approval for the share transfer.

The bank in an attempt to have its networth cross the Rs 100-crore barrier went in for a rights issue before the end of the last fiscal. The Rs 27.5-crore issue was grossly under-subscribed to the tune of Rs 20 crore when director P Rajamohan Rao and two of his associates stepped in to shell out nearly Rs 20 crore. Of the 1.83-crore rights shares issued, Mr Rao and his associates bagged nearly 1.33 crore shares. As per the rights issue, each share of Rs 10 was issued at a premium of Rs 5 in March. The appropriation made in respect of the rights shares pending allotment was Rs 324.8 lakh, according to the bank.

Through the issue, the stake of Mr Rao and his associates in the bank is said to have gone up to over 37 per cent. However, the RBI is yet to approve the share allotment to Mr Rao and his associates. Bank chairman TM Venkataraman told The Financial Express that he was confident of the approval and it would come in soon. The delay, though it has been over four months since the rights issue, was normal, he added. However, banking sources said that in the wake of the bank being under SEBI scrutiny, RBI approval would not come easy.

SEBI has been looking into the July 29 bank board decision to pay dividend to the subscribers of the issue, following complaints from some shareholders. It was decided to pay dividend of Rs 1.50 per equity share for both the existing shares and the rights shares. Going by this norm, Mr Rajamohan and associates could make Rs 2 crore by way of dividend and Rs 8 crore by way of capital appreciation.

The bank says it went in for the dividend payout route as SEBI had rejected its proposal for a separate international security identification number (ISIN) for the rights shares.