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'Banking rivals not behind pulling down our shares'

india Updated: Oct 02, 2008 14:50 IST
Banking rivals not behind pulling down our shares: ICICI

Hit by rumours that it is facing acute liquidity crunch, ICICI Bank has said no rival bank was behind the malicious game of hammering down its shares but did not rule out the hand of an enterprising character seeking to enter the banking sector.

"I do not think it is any rival," ICICI Bank CEO and Managing Director KV Kamath told PTI.

On whether it could be the handiwork of some enterprising character who would want to enter the banking arena through such a route, he said, "at this point we have nobody in mind. And this is something authorities (government and market regulator SEBI) would look into".

ICICI Bank has come under a tight bear hug during the year reaching the lowest level of Rs 458 a share on Tuesday from the year's high of Rs 1465 a share on January 14, 2008.

Kamath was responding to queries on speculation that some entity wanting to enter the banking sector could be behind deliberate hammering down of ICICI Bank's shares, particularly at a time when troubled banks are being acquired in America and Europe.

In a round-about manner Kamath said, "I do not think I would like to speculate at this point of time. Our situation is completely different from that of any international player. Our capital is not impaired. There is no challenge to the financial health.

"It is made out to be impaired but nobody is able to demonstrate that," said Kamath, whose statement on Tuesday backed by RBI and Finance Minister P Chidambaram saw ICICI Bank's shares reversing the trend to record 8.48 per cent increase in prices in a single trading session.