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Fairfax India-backed Catholic Syrian Bank to go public later this year

The company has infused about $1.6 billion in Indian assets since August 2015.

March 29, 2019 / 10:29 AM IST

Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB) is set to make its debut on the bourses this year. Backed by Prem Watsa's Fairfax India Holdings Corp, the bank is prepping for a listing which could have a Rs 400 crore initial public offering (IPO), chief executive officer CVR Rajendran said.

Watsa acquired a 51 percent stake in the bank after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed a foreign entity to hold a majority stake in a local bank, for the first time. RBI had also told CSB that it should list its shares before September 30, 2019, according to a Bloomberg report.

Axis Capital has been roped in to oversee the listing. Rajendran said in an interview that he is seeking a direct listing, where all shares are tradable without going through an IPO route. The bank has approached market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for an approval. In case Rajendran does not get a green light for this, he will go ahead with an IPO where new and existing shares would be on sale.

The listing isn't for more capital as the injection from Fairfax will provide sufficient funding for the coming two or three years, Rajendran said. "We don’t need capital. This is only for compliance," he said.

Watsa's Fairfax Financial Holding Ltd has investments around the world, with a special focus on India. The company has infused about $1.6 billion in Indian assets since August 2015, that range from chemical manufacturers to financial services.

CSB was founded in November 1920 and it commenced business in 1921. It is headquartered in Thrissur, Kerala. With dominance in the southern region of India, CSB has 430 branches across India.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 29, 2019 10:29 am
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