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AU Small Finance Bank: Merging with Fincare to enter MFI segment, southern markets: AU Small Finance Bank

Merging with Fincare Small Finance Bank will help AU Small Finance Bank enter the micro lending segment and also ramp up the presence in southern India, a top official said on Monday. In a significant development in the small finance banking sector, Fincare is poised to amalgamate into AU Small Finance Bank (AU SFB), with the merger slated to take effect from February 1, 2024, subject to requisite approvals.

AU SFB, in a late evening regulatory filing on Sunday, announced its approval of the amalgamation.

Post the deal announcement, Fincare’s Rs 625-crore initial public offering will be on the back burner, said Divya Sehgal, a nominee director on its board and added that the promoter of the entity will infuse Rs 700 crore into the bank before the merger.

Terming the all-share merger a complementary deal, AU SFB’s managing director and chief executive Sanjay Agarwal said till now, the Jaipur-based lender has been doing secured assets and after the merger, it will be getting into the micro finance segment as well.

The micro finance business delivers a higher net interest margin of over 10 per cent which is lucrative even if the cyclical reverses in the business are considered, Agarwal said, stressing that political interference is not too big an issue in India now.

Another senior official from AU SFB said it would have taken years to expand into the southern markets for the lender but the merger will help hasten it. As part of the merger, Fincare’s shareholders will get 579 shares in AU SFB for every 2,000 shares held. The two entities are looking to seal the deal – which requires nod from the Competition Commission of India and Reserve Bank of India – in the next 4-6 months. Post merger, shareholders of Fincare will own 9.9 per cent stake in AU SFB.

Sehgal said the Rs 700 crore infusion is necessitated because of the continuing growth requirements of the business, and added that the same will happen once the merger gets approvals from RBI and CCI.

The gross non-performing assets ratio for Fincare stood at 1.6 per cent as of September 2023, and the same for the merged entity on a proforma basis would have been 1.8 per cent, Agarwal said.

AU SFB shares were trading 4.99 per cent down at Rs 655.35 apiece on the BSE.

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