PNB board meeting on Friday; PNB Housing Finance issue may come up

The board of state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) is schedule to meet on Friday, which among other routine agenda may take up the proposed investment of Rs 4,000 crore by US-based private equity firm Carlyle and others in its mortgage arm PNB Housing Finance.

According to sources, although it is not part of the agenda, the board may discuss the PNB Housing Finance and Carlyle deal amid regulatory concerns.

However, the future course of action on the PNB Housing Finance deal will depend on the final order from Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) listed for July 5, the sources added.

Meanwhile, PNB Housing Finance on Wednesday said it will disclose the outcome of its shareholders' meeting held a day earlier after SAT's order.

The mortgage firm had moved the tribunal on Monday after capital markets regulator Sebi on June 18 asked it not to go ahead with the proposed capital raise by allotting preference shares to the investors until it carried out a valuation of shares from an independent registered valuer.

The SAT, in an order dated June 21, allowed the company to go ahead with the extraordinary general meeting (EGM), but restricted it from announcing the voting results as the matter is pending before the court.

The housing finance company, promoted by PNB, ran into trouble as concerns were raised about its preference issue of shares to a set of investors led by Carlyle Group, and that it was not in the interest of minority shareholders and the promoter.

The deal was announced on May 31, subject to shareholders' and other regulatory approvals. An EGM was called on June 22 to seek approval of shareholders, among other issues.

Once the deal is completed, the stake of Carlyle Group in the mortgage firm will rise to 50.16 per cent from 32.21 per cent, a development that would trigger an open offer, while PNB's stake would come down to 20.28 per cent from the existing 32.64 per cent.

Last week, Carlyle Group along with other entities floated a ''draft letter offer'' with regard to the open offer for acquisition of over 7 crore equity shares representing 26 per cent stake in PNB Housing Finance.

An open offer is a mandatory offer that an acquirer and Persons Acting in Concert (PACs) have to make to the shareholders of a company in case the former acquires more than 25 per cent stake in the company, as per Sebi regulations.

In case of creeping acquisition too, the clause of open offer kicks in when an entity or PACs makes an acquisition of more than 5 per cent stake in a company in a year.

Meanwhile, there are reports of conflict of interest of directors on the board of PNB Housing Finance as they have some direct or indirect connection with Carlyle.

Earlier this month, proxy advisory firm SES said the proposed deal was an "unfair transaction" which was against public shareholders as well as the promoter bank PNB and also flagged concerns about the proposal to re-appoint two independent directors.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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