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Hush-hush tales from the world of stock markets, banking, corporate world and corridors of power

MC Insider: IPO buzz, loan rush, promoter antics, cement games, PE exits and more

Hush-hush tales from the world of stock markets, banking, corporate world and corridors of power

Last Updated: December 21, 2020 / 08:03 AM IST

PAYMENT KING

PAYMENT KING

MNCs tend to bring in the best technology, best service and are usually referred to as ‘giants’ in their industrial segments. But guess with the spurt in digital payments, that has flipped and there can’t be a better person to validate that than a top executive at one of the largest MNCs in the world. In a recent panel discussion, when Dilip Asbe, CEO of NPCI, said that he is used to competing with behemoths such as Visa and Mastercard, pat came the reply from co-panelist Ari Sarker, co-president at Mastercard that in India, NPCI is the giant and global card players are the minors. While the rest of the panel members did approve of the compliment, Asbe could not help but break into a shy smile. After all, the innovation that NPCI has brought in with RuPay, UPI and QR codes has to a large extent managed to make India ‘atmanirbhar’ in terms of digital transactions.

A 59-MINUTE PAIN

A 59-MINUTE PAIN

Public sector bankers face a '59 minutes' problem. Government babus in Delhi are calling up managements of PSU banks to instruct officers to route all MSME loan sanctions through a portal named psbloansin59minutes.com. This is a website launched by the government to facilitate loan applications in PSB banks and is mainly aimed at MSME customers. What started as an additional option has now become a pain for branch level bankers. Bankers complain that they are asked to mandatorily route all loan sanctions, including those which are processed at branches, through this portal, on the spot, so that spruced up MSME loan numbers aggregated through the government portal show up. Bankers say uploading the details of a customer on this site takes a minimum of 45 minutes which puts undue pressure on the staff, besides wasting time. Those who refuse to do this fear punitive actions including transfers.

NICE TRY

NICE TRY

The promoter group of a lender has sought extension on the funds required to be infused by them into the firm. Interestingly, the group has also approached the regulator, seeking permission to increase shareholding. Rumour has it that they have made a request to the RBI to scrap the existing quantum of funds that needs to be infused and give them the nod to buy fresh shares at current market price levels. Cheeky attempt we are told because the CMP is >45 percent below the price they need to invest. RBI, we hear, has not played ball. So these promoters will now have to cough up the actual amount to be invested in the bank. They have 65 percent of the required moolah and need time to get another 35 percent, for which they have sought time from the exchange regulator as well.

CEMENTING POSITION

CEMENTING POSITION

And while anti-monopoly watchdog CCI’s probe into cement makers may have dampened the festive spirit for the segment, we hear a top player in the cement space, which recently took on board a veteran from a top tier IT firm, wants to get its mojo back. The firm is very keen to strengthen its balance sheet as well as its governance. We also picked up that it is likely to shed its non-core investments soon. Most analysts have not pencilled in the stake sale in their numbers. So any move towards deleveraging is likely to lead to further re-rating of the stock.

BRICK AND MORTAR TALES

BRICK AND MORTAR TALES

More on the cement sector. A recent Morgan Stanley report indicated that the cement sector saw strong double-digit volume growth in October and stable to marginal growth in November. Prices have been on the rise in the sout region due to strong production discipline and rumours around one particular cement player from the region, believed to be one of the cheapest stocks in the segment due to its governance discount, refuse to die down. The firm has succession issues and has an influential investor on board, but buzz about a rival suitor up north eyeing it continues despite the northern peer firmly denying the chatter.

TIMING THE EXIT

TIMING THE EXIT

A bulge-bracket private equity fund, which has sealed several high profile deals across multiple sectors in 2021, is all set to exit its stake in a firm that recently concluded a share swap pact with a peer hailing from the land of the Samurai. This even as the final regulatory approval is awaited for a high-profile deal between the same firm and a private sector lender. And it has been a long wait indeed, as the transaction has seen multiple changes to the deal structure in the past.

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

We spoke about winds of change at a Big 4 firm in the last edition of MC Insider. Well, we hear the same winds of change circling over another rival firm, which will see a new man at the top in early 2021. We have learnt that this new era of leadership may result in further changes at the top in two key verticals of this firm. And do these changes have anything to do with the recent election process? Well, our lips are sealed for now! Wink! Wink!

‘REAL’ DEAL

‘REAL’ DEAL

The flurry of activity in the equity capital markets, which are flush with liquidity, has woken up several corporates who had put their listing plans on freeze. Everyone wants to ride the ongoing wave of optimism, including this top realty player which had deferred its IPO plans a few years earlier due to market volatility. Then there was buzz that it could explore the REIT route. Now we hear that the realtor has taken two merchant banks on board and is eyeing a listing again. This even as the temporary stamp duty cut in Maharashtra has led to a sharp spike in property registrations.

HEALTHY DEBUT

HEALTHY DEBUT

Private equity funds are not only eyeing buyout deals but are also nudging their portfolio companies towards an eventual listing in a bid clock handsome exits. This hospital chain down south, which is backed by a top global PE fund and was recently in the news for carrying out a rare complicated surgery on a COVID-19 patient, has finalised advisors for a 2021 IPO. This will be its second attempt at a D-Street debut and the size of the issue will depend on how much the investors want to offload.

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