Indiabulls Housing Finance readies ground for high-level changes

Gehlaut took charge as CEO and whole-time director of Indiabulls Ventures — a sister company — on June 25
Indiabulls Housing Finance, the third-largest housing mortgage lender in India, is preparing for a management revamp.

According to the plan, founder Sameer Gehlaut may step down as chairman. He took charge as CEO and whole-time director of Indiabulls Ventures — a sister company — on June 25. “Since he cannot hold executive positions in two firms at the same time, Gehlaut has decided to step down from Indiabulls Housing,” said a senior management representative privy to the development.

Independent director S S Mundra could be elevated, said people in the know.

The former RBI deputy governor joined the Indiabulls Housing board in August 2018 for a three-year term. When contacted, however, Mundra denied any such development.

Gagan Banga — vice-chairman, MD and CEO of the firm — confirmed the appointment of a ‘well-respected and known person’ as non-executive chairman, without giving a name. The board is expected to meet and formalise the management changes next week.

With the lender preparing to raise up to $300 million (Rs 2,250 crore) in equity capital, Gehlaut could abstain from participating in the issuance, the people added. Promoters of Indiabulls Housing, represented by Gehlaut and his investment firms, hold 23.66 per cent stake.

Based on the market capitalisation of Rs 8,141 crore (August 5), Gehlaut’s stake will reduce to around 18 per cent if he abstains from participating, and may not remain the majority stakeholder.   

Gehlaut’s participation in the fund raising may depend on how it is rolled out, said a person in the know. “If it is a rights issue, he may participate. But he won’t if it is a QIP.” Shareholders granted approval for the capital infusion — by way of qualified institutional placement (QIP), foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs), or any other mode — on July 29.  

US-based Apollo Global Management may fully subscribe to the QIP, which would give it about a 22 per cent stake. Subsequently, it could nominate two representatives to the Indiabulls Housing board. An email seeking confirmation remained unanswered till press time.

The Indiabulls Housing stock has been under tremendous pressure since the RBI’s rejection of its merger with Lakshmi Vilas Bank.

Nonetheless, after hitting a 52-week low of Rs 81.25 on March 20, the stock has more than doubled to Rs 190, spurred by the expected equity infusion.

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