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Wednesday, Feb 05, 2003

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Foreign holding up in ING Vysya Bank

Virendra Verma

MUMBAI, Feb. 4

AFTER the acquisition of 44-per cent stake by ING group in ING Vysya Bank, foreign investors have increased their stake in the south-based bank.

According to the shareholding pattern, foreign holding in the bank has increased from 55.31 per cent as on September 2002 to 57.54 per cent at the end of December 2002. Out of the total foreign holding in the bank, 49 per cent is in the form of foreign direct investment held jointly by ING group through BBL Mauritius Holdings (34.20 per cent) and BBL Mauritius Investment (9.79 per cent) and 5.01 per cent is with International Finance Corporation.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, NRI/OCBs have increased their stake from 3.24 per cent to 5.15 per cent and FII holdings have gone up from 3.07 per cent to 3.39 per cent.

Stockbrokers and analysts said ING Vysya Bank is the only listed foreign bank in the country and the stock is attracting more interest from FIIs. They said some of the FIIs are gradually buying the shares of the bank over a few months. They said as per the current guidelines, FIIs could invest up to 49 per cent in the company's equity. This is in addition to the FDI limit of 49 per cent. Other banks with high foreign investment include ICICI Bank (63.52 per cent) and HDFC Bank (41.54 per cent).

"There is enough scope for FIIs to increase their stake in the bank and we could see this happen in the near future," said an analyst with a leading domestic broking firm.

A dealer at a top broking firm said there were some purchases by FIIs in today's trading on the BSE. This could be deduced from the sharp rise in the volumes in ING Vysya Bank counter. Volumes increased to 52,080 shares compared to 804 shares traded last Friday. There was no trading in the bank's stock on Monday. On the NSE, volumes were 6,580 shares compared to 2,598 shares traded on Monday. However, there was no major change in the stock price on both the bourses. On BSE, the stock closed at Rs 254.20, up 0.14 per cent and on the NSE, it closed 0.10 per cent lower at Rs 253.40.

Even after the acquisition of additional shares by ING group in July last, the stock moved in a narrow range of Rs 225-250. When the ING group announced its intention to increase stake in the bank, the stock price increased to over Rs 300.

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