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UBS, Citi pick stake in SIB

Close on the heels of the US-based privately held India Capital Fund hiking its stake, to a tad lower than 10%, in South India Bank (SIB), two more global financial majors, Swiss financial power house UBS Securities and Citigroup Global Markets have picked up minority stakes in the Thrissur-based, mid-sized old generation private sector bank. Both UBS and Citigroup have bought SIB shares from the open market. SIB is one of the oldest old generation private sector banks in the country and does not have any domestic or foreign promoters. India Capital Fund is the single largest shareholder in SIB with a 9.94% stake.

According to information available with FE, UBS Securities picked up 15,42,737 shares aggregating a 2.19% stake in SIB from the secondary market as of the quarter ended March 31, 2007. At the current market price of Rs 100, UBS must have paid over Rs 15 crore to acquire its 2.19% stake.

Similarly, Citigroup Global Markets Mauritius Ltd mopped up 12,82,285 shares of SIB aggregating 1.82% of the paid-up capital of SIB from the open market. Citigroup must have shelled out close to Rs 13 crore for its stake in the bank. SIB's stock closed on the BSE on Thursday at Rs 101, down by 1.99%. For the year ended March 2007, SIB has clocked a net profit of Rs 104.12 crore over a revenue base of Rs 1079.76 crore. It has a strong presence in southern India, especially in its home state of Kerala. According to merchant banking circles, though the stakes held by Citi and UBS are minuscule, they show the interest of foreign institutions in the bank. Other than Citi, UBS and India Capital Fund, other leading foreign institutions having an equity interest in SIB.

Source : Financial Express

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