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MUMBAI/BENGALURU, Oct 30 (Reuters) – India's AU Small Finance Bank (AUFI.NS) is buying IPO-bound peer Fincare Small Finance Bank in an all-stock deal worth 44.11 billion rupees ($529.8 million), as it looks to enter the microfinance space.
Shares of AU Small Finance Bank dropped nearly 9% to their lowest since mid-April on concerns that the deal, announced late on Sunday, would lead to heightened focus on unsecured lending at the bank. The stock was last down 4.4%.
The bank's asset quality deteriorated and provisions for bad loans spiked in the second quarter, according to results released on Saturday.
The main strategic pivot for AU Small Finance Bank in the deal is an increased focus on unsecured lending, said Shailesh Kanani, an analyst at Centrum Broking.
This could potentially expose the bank to macroeconomic challenges, which it has so far managed to weather more effectively than its peers, he added.
"As of now, our unsecured book is 4%. Post the merger, it will be around 11%," AU Small Finance Bank CEO Sanjay Agarwal told the media on Monday.
"We want to cap microfinance around 10%-11% of the overall book."
Over half of Fincare's asset portfolio is made up of microfinance, or loans to low-income individuals or groups who typically find it tough to borrow funds from banks.
The deal comes weeks after Tiger Global-backed fintech Slice said it would merge with North East Small Finance Bank, which is focussed on India's north-eastern region.
Shareholders of Fincare, which had filed IPO papers in May, will receive 579 equity shares of AU Small Finance Bank for every 2,000 shares of the former. Fincare has about 221 million outstanding shares, its IPO filing showed.
Fincare shareholders will hold close to 9.9% in AU Small Finance Bank after the deal, which is subject to a capital infusion of 7 billion rupees by Fincare's top shareholders.
While Fincare has put its IPO on the back burner, it will not withdraw its listing application until the central bank approves the merger, said Divya Sehgal, a director on Fincare's board.
($1 = 83.2580 Indian rupees)
Additional reporting by Ira Dugal and Rama Venkat; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Mrigank Dhaniwala
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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