Chennai, In a move that can potentially trigger a major consolidation in India’s state-run financial services space, the board of State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday approved the swap ratio for taking over four banks — three of its associate banks as well as the Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd (BMB).
The SBI had earlier announced its decision to take over all its five associate banks — State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) — and BMB.
However, on Thursday SBI announced the swap ratio for only SBBJ, SBM, SBT and BMB.
The news about the development came after the close of trading hours of Indian bourses though the share prices of SBM and SBBJ flared up during the day, while that of SBT saw a rise of around Re 1.
As per the ratio, SBI will swap 28 of its equity shares for every 10 equity shares of SBBJ; 22 shares for every 10 shares of SBM and SBT respectively and 4,42, 31,510 shares for every 100 crore shares of BMB.
Out of the five associate banks only SBBJ, SBM and SBT are listed with the presence of minority shareholders.
The SBBJ board on Thursday approved the swap ratio.
The timing of the swap ratio announcement has taken even equity analysts by surprise as they had not expected that to come on Thursday.
“We have to work out the numbers only then we can comment,” an equity analyst told IANS.
Global credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service had estimated it would cost SBI around Rs 16.6 billion ($250 million) for the merger and will have limited impact on its credit metrics, including its asset quality and capitalisation level.
In mid-June the government gave an in-principle approval to the proposal for the merger of six banking entities with the country’s largest lender, which State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya hailed as a “win-win” for all.
The nod was given at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Finance Ministry spokesman then told IANS.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier said the merger will not affect the employees of the SBI associate banks.
The two banks that have not figured on Thursday’s list are State Bank of Hyderabad and the State Bank of Patiala.
The major banking union All India Bank Employees’Association (AIBEA) is not happy at the development.
According to AIBEA General Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam, it is curious to see banking licenses being given to big corporate houses to start ‘Small Banks’ and ‘Payment Banks’ whereas SBI associate banks and other public sector banks are sought to be merged on the plea that they are small and hence not viable.
Earlier, in a statement, SBI’s Bhattacharya said: “The merger of SBI and its associate banks is a win-win for both. While the network of SBI would stand to increase, its reach would multiply.
“One can expect efficiencies to be created from rationalisation of branches, common treasury pooling and proper deployment of a large skilled resource base. Currently, no Indian bank features in the top 50 banks of the world. With this merger, some visibility at global level is likely to increase,” she said.
However, a banking sector analyst, preferring anonymity, told IANS: “It has to be seen how the merger pans out in the years to come. Whatever is being said today is all guesses.”
The analyst also wondered whether Bhattacharya will see through the merger as she is set to retire later this year.
Meanwhile, the SBI scrip in BSE closed at Rs 248.20 as against Wednesday’s closing price of Rs 246.25.
On the other hand, the share price of listed associate SBM’s scrip shot up to close at Rs 621.70 after closing at Rs 609.15 while that of SBBJ closed at Rs 673.30 up by Rs 22.70 and SBT went up marginally to close at Rs 505.85 as against the Wednesday’s closing price of Rs 504.45.
Venkatachalam said the swap ratio shows that SBI is not at a higher plane in terms of value. “So what is the value addition to the shareholders of the merging bank and others,” he wondered.