Singapore’s DBS Bank has sold its entire 2.7% stake in the country’s second largest private bank HDFC Bank for Rs 1,291 crore ($263 million) in an open market transaction last week. Among those who bought the shares of HDFC Bank (whose promoter firm HDFC is backed by Carlyle) include Deutsche Securities which picked a little less than 1% for Rs 421 crore ($86 million).

DBS reportedly picked the stake in the April-June quarter of 2008, although this could not be verified independently. Given that HDFC Bank’s share price ranged between Rs 1,000-1,500 during this period with the scrip hovering over Rs 1,200 for most part of the quarter, it is unlikely that DBS made any money in the deal, assuming it indeed bought the shares during that period. DBS sold the shares in a bulk deal at a price of Rs 1,111/share.


Recently, Bank Muscat had also sold a large part of its holdings in HDFC Bank. The middle east bank generated a neat 7x return from its investment in Centurion Bank (now merged with HDFC Bank) in a little less than six years.

Another such long term investor Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) is also believed to have exited its investment in HDFC Bank last quarter. The media giant first sold 0.8% out of 2% holding during the October-December quarter pocketing around Rs 300 crore. It had been holding on to the stake for nine years after it was allotted the shares as a result of sale of Times Bank to HDFC Bank.

Its stake came down to 1.26% as of December end and as per the latest available shareholding of HDFC Bank, BCCL does not figure among those having 1% plus as of March end. Either BCCL has completely exited its holding or has sold atleast 0.27% in the bank between January-March 2009.

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