Dubai-based NRI Yusuffali MA buys into South Indian Bank

Dubai-based NRI businessman Yusuffali MA, the founder of the $5.1billion Lulu Group which runs one of the biggest retail chains in Asia, has made his fourth known bet on the Indian banking sector.

Yusuffali picked up 2.23 per cent stake in  Thrissur-based South Indian Bank Ltd for Rs 63 crore on Monday.

Yusuffali Musaliam Veettil Abdul Kader of LuLu Group, who has been actively buying shares of mid to small banks, has holdings in other South-based lenders like Federal Bank (4.47 per cent), Dhanlaxmi Bank (4.99 per cent) and Catholic Syrian Bank (4.99 per cent).

Yusuffali picked up 30 million shares of South Indian Bank from Fid Funds (Mauritius) Ltd, part of asset management major Fidelity.

Scrip of South Indian Bank closed at Rs 21.05, up by 3.95 per cent giving the company a market capitalisation of Rs 2,825.33 crore.

For Q3FY14, South Indian Bank's net interest income (NII) remained flat at Rs 350 crore, while non-interest income grew by 27.9 per cent leading to operating income growth of 3.9 per cent to Rs 435 crore.

Operating expenses grew 19.5 per cent to Rs 219 crore.

South Indian Bank is backed a slew of private equity investors like Multiples (5.56 per cent), Carlyle Group (4.96 per cent), CX Partners (3.34 per cent) and JM Financial (3.32 per cent).

Yusuffali is the managing director of Emke Group, a Gulf-based retail and leisure conglomerate operating under the flagship brand Lulu.

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, the group has diversified into many areas such as manufacturing, food processing and hospitality with retail being the prominent among them.

Besides increasing his stakes in these banks, Yusuffali is betting on the remittance business through Lulu Forex, owned and operated by LuLu International Exchange LLC.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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