Religare promoters sell 2.7% more for $22M

Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, promoters of financial service holding firm Religare Enterprises Ltd, sold another 2.7 per cent stake in the open market on Monday for Rs 139.4 crore ($22 million).

The shares were acquired by an entity called Mehta & Mehta Real Estate Pvt Ltd, whose parentage could not be immediately ascertained.

The promoters of Religare are selling the shares as part of their 22 per cent stake divestment to bring down their shareholding to 49 per cent to qualify Religare Enterprises as a non-operating financial holding company (NOFHC) as per RBI guidelines to apply for a banking licence.

Singh brothers held over 71 per cent in Religare Enterprises as of June 30 and had been selling shares since early this month.

Earlier they sold around 8 per cent stake in the company for an estimated Rs 421 crore. Part of this was bought by US-based Customers Bancorp which earlier committed around $51 million in the company.

Customers Bancorp had said it will buy stake in Religare Enterprises through a split between share purchase from the promoters as well as a preferential allotment of shares and convertible warrants. It had said it will buy stake worth $22 million from the promoters, invest $28 million through subscription of equity convertible warrants and share issue worth $1 million.

Customers Bancorp, a US banking services firm, is backed and led by Jay Sidhu, a US-based banker of Indian origin. For Sidhu, who led the rise of Sovereign Bancorp into one of the largest US regional banks before being ousted from the organisation, this is the second attempt to enter Indian financial services business.

With the latest share sale, promoters’ holding has shrunk to around 60.3 per cent which will dilute further to around 58.5 per cent post preferential allotment to Customers Bancorp and conversion of warrants into equity, as per VCCircle estimates.

This means Singh brothers need to sell further shares worth over Rs 500 crore to meet their target of 49 per cent holding.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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