India May Buy Less Than Two-Thirds Allotment in State Bank Rights Offer

India may acquire less than two- thirds of its allocation in State Bank of India’s proposed rights offer, a senior finance ministry official told reporters in New Delhi.

A final decision on the amount to be invested by the government will be taken by February, the official said, declining to be identified before a public announcement.

The nation’s largest lender plans to raise as much as 200 billion rupees ($4.4 billion) from a sale of shares to existing holders in the year ending March 31, Chairman Om Prakash Bhatt reiterated last week. That would require the government to spend as much as 120 billion rupees to maintain its stake of 59.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The government may allow overseas investors to buy the shares by foregoing parts of its rights, said Deven Choksey, chief executive officer of Mumbai-based K.R. Choksey Shares & Securities Pvt., which manages about $120 million in assets for wealthy investors. “We advice investors to stay invested and also apply for the rights issue.”

Shares of State Bank fell 2.3 percent to 2,800 rupees, heading for its lowest closing price in three months, as of 3:16 p.m. in Mumbai.

India’s parliament in August passed a bill that would permit State Bank to sell shares to boost its capital while allowing the government to reduce its stake to 51 percent, from a previous requirement of at least 55 percent.

The lender also won’t be allowed to use the funds raised from the government on its regional banking subsidiaries, the official said.

Those units include the State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Mysore, as well as the closely held State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Hyderabad. State Bank of India holds 75 percent to 100 percent of those subsidiaries, according to its website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anto Antony in New Delhi at aantony1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sam Nagarajan at samnagarajan@bloomberg.

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