SBI puts off listing of mutual fund arm as market turns volatile

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In the wake of volatility in the stock markets, State Bank of India has put off plans to list its subsidiaries, including the mutual fund unit, and will wait for better market conditions before taking it forward.

“We had planned but then the markets were not behaving as well. We have nurtured these companies well, and they will probably go to market at the right and opportune time,” Dinesh Kumar Khara, Chairman, State Bank of India, told BusinessLine.

On December 15, 2021, SBI announced plans to offload a 6 per cent stake of the Bank in SBI Funds Management Private Limited through an IPO route. According to earlier reports, SBI was looking to raise between $800 and $1 billion and had even appointed investment bankers for a potential listing in the first quarter of 2023. SBI holds a 62.6 per cent stake in SBI Funds Management, while the remaining 36.8 per cent lies with Amundi.

‘Not on the radar’

However, Khara said that markets are not at their best at present. “For the time being, listing is not on the radar,” he said.

“We are not in desperate need of listing this entity. As it is, they are capital-light industries. We would have listed because there are ESOPs that were given and listing can help in better price discovery for the stocks,” Khara said.

This comes at a time when equity markets have been volatile and the global economic situation is surrounded by uncertainty. Foreign portfolio investors have been net sellers of Indian equities and have pulled out close to ₹14,000 crore from Indian equity markets this month. The country’s largest-ever initial public offering of ₹21,000 crore by Life Insurance Corporation of India too was not left unscathed by these developments. It was listed at a discount of over eight per cent on its issue price of ₹949 apiece and is now trading at ₹664 on the BSE at the close on Thursday.

When asked if the listing plans have been postponed as SBI is much better capitalised now, Khara said that the bank has never done an IPO with the intention of any capital requirement. “We have invested about ₹4,400 crore in these companies. For a balance sheet of our size, the investment we made in these companies was to change the point of view of being the manufacturer of the products and services in the financial sector, which we can roll out for our customers. For us, the reputation of the bank and the brand are very important. We wanted to showcase the products made by a similar brand. That was the intention. It’s an ancillary gain. In bad times, it turned out to be a big help. It is incidental,” Khara said.

On listing the bank’s general insurance arm, SBI General Insurance, Khara said the business should grow a bit more before the bank will look at listing it. SBI Life Insurance was listed in 2017 and its ₹8,400 crore initial public offer was oversubscribed 3.58 times.

Published on June 23, 2022