Size of the issue will depend on the price at which the shares are offered

State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, is planning to roll out an employee share purchase scheme next fiscal (2014-15). The bank has 2.28 lakh employees on its payroll.

According to Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson, SBI, the scheme would be worth between ₹800 crore and ₹1,200 crore. The size of the issue will depend on the price at which the shares will be offered.

Ministry nod sought

“We are looking at an ₹800-1,200 crore employee share purchase scheme. We have sought permission from the Ministry.

The scheme might be in place sometime next fiscal,” Bhattacharya said on the sidelines of a programme organised by the Tata Medical Centre here on Friday.

According to her, all employees of the bank, including its officers and clerks, would be eligible for application under the scheme. Shares would be offered at a discounted rate.

“The shares will be offered at a discount.

“Otherwise, it does not make sense and they can buy it from the market,” she said without specifying the discount. SBI shares closed at ₹1,648.75, up 4.60 per cent, on the BSE on Friday.

Bad loans

The bank, Bhattacharya said, was also making efforts to reduce its bad loans and improve credit quality.

The bank was exploring options to sell bad loans to asset reconstruction companies, she said.

Its gross non-performing assets ratio rose 43 basis points to 5.73 per cent during the December quarter over the 5.30 per cent reported a year ago.

Net NPAs during the third quarter (October-December) rose to 3.24 per cent, from 2.59 per cent last fiscal.

Similarly, provisioning for NPAs went up 24 per cent to ₹3,429 crore (for the December period) compared with ₹2,766 crore a year back. “You can take it for granted that we are conscious of our responsibilities in realising those (bad loans and NPAs),” she said in response to a specific question.

(This article was published on March 7, 2014)
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