‘Kindly refrain’: ICICI Bank faces heat for ‘coaxing’ I-Sec shareholders to back delisting plan

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ICICI Bank is reportedly under fire from a bunch of minority shareholders who are alleging that they are being chased by the lender to back its proposal to delist its broking unit, ICICI Securities.

ICICI Bank, which owns nearly three-fourths stake in ICICI Securities, has proposed a share-swap ratio in which investors of the broking unit will receive 67 shares of the parent lender for every 100 shares they own.

Minority shareholders are not happy as they claim the valuation is below its fair value.

Several ICICI Securities shareholders claimed the bank’s executives were coaxing them to vote in favour of the resolution to delist.

Market participants, including Capital Mind’s Deepak Shenoy, said such alleged actions could result in Sebi scrutiny.

“They have called shareholders and asked them to vote…pushing for an approval. This might be legal, but it leaves a bad taste, especially asking for email confirmations of the votes. We own a position in the bank but it doesn’t look good to do this, plus could call for Sebi action on undue influence. Kindly refrain,” Shenoy posted.

“The current merger ratio values ICICI securities at a 30% to 77% discount to its other listed peers, according to Quantum Asset Management Company, which holds a stake in both entities. It voted against the resolution,” wrote Chander Bhatia, another shareholder.

“This might have the opposite effect. People who didn’t care might actually login and vote against it,” posted Gautam Pradhan, another X user.

“This is one of the cheapest valuations I have seen for any delisting in India, let alone for a company as good as this one,” said Nilesh Shetty, a portfolio manager at Quantum Advisors. The transaction reflects poorly on ICICI Bank’s corporate governance, according to Shetty.

The voting for the resolution ended Tuesday and the company will set up a virtual call to discuss the resolution today.

“I’m advising all my clients to vote against this resolution, at least they could have valued it similar to how it was done during the IPO six years back,” said Manu Rishi Guptha, a founder at MGR Capital.

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