Private lenders' 'act of kindness' to YES Bank irks investors

The larger debate is whether it was appropriate for peers to have bailed it out.
It was yet another forgetful day for the banking and financial stocks, and more so for names such as State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Bandhan Bank, Federal Bank, and IDFC First Bank. Over the weekend these lenders collectively pooled in Rs 3,950 crore to bailout the beleaguered YES Bank along with SBI.

Given that the investment was made at Rs 10 a share, the same as SBI’s pricing, Monday's 45 per cent appreciation in YES Bank stock to Rs 37.10 could prompt one to think that these lenders have indeed made a good investment. However, part of the reason for Monday’s surge was technical with the NSE preponing exclusion of YES Bank stock from Nifty index by about a week to this Thursday, and secondly, the compulsory lock-in of 75 per cent holding of existing investors (owning over 100 shares) which has reduced supply in the counter.

So, the rally’s sustainability from hereon, will depend on YES Bank’s financial capabilities. That said, the participation of banks and HDFC does throw up two critical questions. One, whether the banking sector is on the verge of witnessing very selective participation from investors, and two, whether the timing of investment was right.

“We have seen no private interest so far in the bank (YES) and given the deterioration in the business, banks/RBI will have to continue to provide both liquidity and capital to the bank,” say analysts at Nomura.

Source: Capitaline; compiled by BS Reseach Bureau

The larger debate is whether it was appropriate for peers to have bailed it out. “The intention is also to protect their own interest,” says Ajay Bodke, CEO and chief portfolio manager, Prabhudas Lilladher. “But still, this is a large cheque to write for these lenders, especially when business is turning tough even for these lenders and capital for the system is getting expensive,” he adds.

In this context, Lalitabh Shrivastawa of Sharekhan feels that if these sums were retained by the banks, it would have certainly made a positive difference to their financials. Concerns expressed by analysts largely stem from the fact that growth has been on a slow-mode and barring ICICI Bank, asset quality pressures haven’t quite eased for these lenders.    

In addition, Shriram Subramanian, MD, InGovern, says the decision to invest in YES Bank by its peers could have been done more consultatively engaging shareholders as well. “None of the investee banks had an opportunity to do due diligence on YES Bank and I don’t think some of these banks would have participated in the capital-raising process if left to themselves,” he explains.

Experts say such decisions are detrimental to shareholders’ interest and at a time when banking stocks are at the fore-front of the market correction, they could further weaken sentiments. Stocks of these lenders were down between 5.9 per cent – 11 per cent on Monday.

Compiled by BS Research Bureau

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