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IFCI to put off stake sale

IFCI, the oldest financial institution in the country, is re-examining a move to sell a 26 per cent stake to a strategic partner, reports Arun Kumar.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2007 05:15 IST
Arun Kumar

IFCI, the oldest financial institution in the country, is re-examining a move to sell a 26 per cent stake to a strategic partner. After turning profitable in the last quarter, the company is learnt to have decided first to build a robust business model and then go in for an equity sale.

According to highly placed sources, IFCI now feels it is better to have basket of investors purely for resource mobilisation. “The important thing is to have a robust business model rather than a strategic investor who will eventually impose a business model, the sources said.

“Once the new management is able to put in a new business model, it will attract a better valuation over the medium term,” they added.

According to a July 6 board resolution, IFCI was to come out with a public announcement on July 16 inviting interested parties for a stake sale of 26 per cent. The strategic investors were expected to make bids within a month of the announcement. Ernst & Young is the consultant for the process and has prepared the information memorandum. The IFCI board would meet again on August 4 to discuss the issue, sources said.

The IFCI share price is continuously slipping since July 6. It is currently trading at Rs 53.60, down from Rs 63 on July 6. Leading multinationals such as Nomura Securities and US-based funds have shown an interest in the IFCI stake. Sources said Barclays was expect to bid upward of Rs 80 per share, resulting in a valuation of over Rs 4,000 crore for IFCI.

IFCI executives were not available for comments.

For the first quarter ending June 2007, IFCI reported a net profit of Rs 246.86 crore on net sales of Rs 349.95 crore, compared with a net loss of Rs 15.61 crore on net sales of Rs 252.01 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year. Operating income rose 96.6 per cent to Rs 506.35 crore in the first quarter against Rs 257.61 crore in same period of 2006-07.

“IFCI has inherent strengths in terms of vertical expertise, a large customer base and a pan-India network of branches. The last part of the jigsaw puzzle was liquidity, which has started coming in now. With zero non-performing assets and surplus liquidity, the company is in a position to leverage its balance sheet to expand its core business. Besides, the company can raise resources from institutional investors or the capital market at much better valuations once it is ready with a business model,” sources in IFCI said.