HDFC Bank moves ahead to fully acquire CBoP

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Mumbai, Feb 25 (UNI) Second largest private sector lender HDFC Bank moved a step ahead to fully acquire Centurion Bank of Punjab (CBoP) by annoucing the share-swap ratio at 1:29.

After the approval by the regulatory authority and share-holders, HDFC Bank will absorb all the assets, human resources as well as entire business of CBoP, which has a strong branch network in Kerela and Punjab, the key officials of both the banks confirmed today.

After the HDFC Bank's EGM, to be held in the third week of March, the duo will approach the Apex Bank of the country for the approval, and the whole process is expected to be complete within next 3-4 months, HDFC Bank Managing Director Aditya Puri said. Announcing the share-exchange ratio for the proposed merger, at a joint conference here today, the banks said their respective board had approved the share-swap ratio of one equity share of rupees ten each of HDFC Bank for every 29 equity shares of rupee one each held in Centurion Bank of Punjab.

Briefing the newsmen, HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh said that the deal has been fairly valuated by the well experienced agencies taking into account various aspects like market share, asset size, book value and market price of the shares.

HDFC Bank's board has also offered CBoP Chairman Ratan Talwar, a seat on the board as non-executive director and invited CBoP Managing Director Shailendra Bhandari to join the board as Executive Director, Mr Parekh said .

The HDFC Bank would further consider making a preferential offer to its promoter Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC), which holds 23.2 percent stake in the bank, to enable it to maintain its shareholding percentage in the same.

Commenting on the deal, Mr Puri said,''This is a fair, professional and a clean merger,'' while Mr Talwar said, ''This will be the largest merger in the history of Indian private sector.'' Stating that, it will be a precursor of many M&A in India, Mr Talwar said, ''We do not yet have a global scale bank. The new HDFC bank will be at the forefront after this merger.'' MORE UNI PP DB SKB1715

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