Mumbai, April 26: Netherlands-based Rabobank today sold a large part of its residual stake in private sector lender Yes Bank for around Rs 453 crore.
For the quarter ended March 31, Rabobank International Holding BV held 1.67 crore shares of Yes Bank that translated into 4.73 per cent of the latter's equity.
In block deals conducted on the Bombay Stock Exchange today, it sold around 1.27 crore shares at an average price of Rs 357.03 apiece to a clutch of domestic and foreign institutions. The buyers included Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company, which acquired 25.21 lakh shares, and Citigroup Global Markets Mauritius.
While it is believed that the stake sale was aimed at meeting capital requirements as Rabobank is expanding operations in India as well, the sale price was at a discount of nearly 3 per cent over the closing price of Yes Bank shares on Wednesday.
News of the stake sale sent the Yes Bank stock tumbling on the markets. On the BSE, the scrip lost 2.54 per cent to close at Rs 357.10.
This is not the first sale by a foreign investor in a domestic private bank in recent times. Last month, Khazanah Nasional sold its entire 4.2 per cent stake in Yes Bank for Rs 520 crore. The stake sale was transacted at a price of around Rs 362.09 per share and the shares were acquired by domestic and foreign institutions.
Rabobank has been paring its stake in the private bank as it is now expanding its operations in India. According to the present RBI norms, a foreign bank operating in India cannot hold more than 5 per cent in a private bank. In 2010, it sold nearly 11 per cent of its shareholding in Yes Bank for around Rs 1,000 crore and this brought down its stake to less than 5 per cent from more than 15 per cent.
Market circles said foreign investors had been bringing down their holdings in domestic banks or finance companies for individual considerations or merely to book profits.
In February, Carlyle sold 20 million shares in Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) that accounted for a nearly 1 per cent stake.
Citigroup also sold 14.53 crore shares at a price of Rs 657.56 apiece of HDFC.