Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa-led Fairfax Financial Holdings has received approval of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to acquire up to 51% stake in Kerala-based Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB). Foreign direct investment in private banks continues to be capped at 74%.
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The proposed Rs 1,000 crore investment will allow CSB to increase its assets 10 times. The bank’s focus will be on small and medium enterprises, gold, and retail, while it may not be aggressive on corporate lending.
During the first half of the financial year 2016 -17 Catholic Syrian Bank has registered the highest ever net profits during the first half, in the entire history of the 96 year old organization. Backed by surge in treasury profits on account of favorable interest rate movements, effective management of stressed assets, improvement in CASA and asset growth and strict control over operating expenses, the bank has recorded a net profit of Rs. 53 crore in H1 of 2016-17 as against a loss of Rs. 41 crore during H1 of previous year. The operating profit of the Bank for the first half was Rs. 95 Crore.
Some of the well known shareholders of Catholic Syrian Bank include LuLu Group MD Yusuffali M.A., Federal Bank, Bridge India Fund, and Edelweiss Finance and Investments.
Catholic Syrian Bank is a full service bank offering Neighborhood Banking, NRI Services, SME and Wholesale banking services through it’s 430 branches and 240 ATMs across the country.