Yes Bank evasive about 'talks' with L&T Finance for stake sale

Written by PTI | Mumbai | Updated: Apr 24 2014, 19:05pm hrs
Yes BankThere are reports about a possible deal with L&T Finance, under which the non-banking firm is supposed to buy a stake in Yes Bank as a precursor to a likely merger.
Yes Bank remained evasive on market buzz about a possible deal with L&T Finance, under which the non-banking firm is supposed to buy a stake in the private lender as a precursor to a likely merger.

"I think the bank is on its feet firmly, the rest is circumstantial," this was all Yes Bank Chief Financial Officer Rajat Monga was willing to say when reporters asked him about the speculation related to stake sale.

According to a report, published on a day when boards of both the companies met to discuss annual performances, L&T Finance is in "talks" with Yes Bank to pick up a stake and possibly also merge the two entities if RBI allows.

L&T Finance lost out in the race to convert itself into a full-fledged bank in the last round of licensing.

The NBFC also refused to comment on the report, saying it will not react to market speculations.

"We are very much interested in banking and are awaiting more clarity from RBI," L&T Finance President and Wholetime Director N Sivaraman told PTI, when asked if it is open to increasing the stake in Yes Bank or applying for a differentiated banking licence.

The RBI, which selected only two of the 25 applicants for bank licence early this month, has said many of the aspirants are better equipped to offer differentiated banking.

According to industry watchers, picking up a stake in Yes Bank or a merger will help L&T Finance foray into the club of universal banking, which it wanted to enter in the current round of licencing.

However, some point out to the 5 per cent stake held by L&T Finance in the City Union Bank, which may turn out to be an impediment for any such deal.

According to the existing laws, every move of getting over 5 per cent stake in a bank has to be approved by the sector regulator RBI.

The Yes Bank promoters -- Managing Director Rana Kapoor (over 13%) and the widow of co-founder Madhu Kapur (close to 12%) who are lokced in a bitter legal battle over board positions, hold nearly 25 per cent in the bank. The rest of being held by institutions and the public.