PNB may bid for IFCL stake

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (UNI) Punjab National Bank (PNB), the country's second largest public sector bank, today said it may re-bid for a strategic stake in financial firm IFCL.

''If other people approach us and if it looks as an exciting opportunity, we may bid,'' PNB Chairman and Managing Director K C Chakrabarty told reporters here on the sidelines of signing an agreement with ILFS CDI.

The plan of IFCI for selling its stake had fetched bids from seven individual firms and three consortia that included GE Capital Corp, Natixis, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered Bank.

PNB along with Japan's Shinsei Bank and US investor JC Flowers had shown their interest in IFCI last year.

The Board of IFCI will meet on June 12 to decide on a possible stake sale, six months after it rejected an offer of a consortium of Sterlite Industries and Morgan Stanley.

The CMD showed concerns over the Bank's profit margins which is under pressure due to the Reserve Bank of India's tight monetary measures for last two years.

He said the Bank has no plans to revise deposit and lending rates at present.

Dr Chakrabarty, however, said, ''If there is a signal for more tightening, we will consider raising the rates.'' The PNB chief informed that the bank will receive about Rs 1,000-1,500 crore from the government in lieu of farm loans waived of under a debt waiver scheme which was announced in this year's Union Budget.

PNB today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ILFS Cluster Development Initiative (ILFS CDI), a group company of ILFS, for providing an impetus to the financing of industrial infrastructure projects in the country.

Under the MoU, the Bank will finance the various infrastructure projects such as waste disposal, water supply, greenfield industrial parks, upgradation of existing industrial estates, quality control labs, design centres, etc.

UNI SBA MP VC1712

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