Promoter share lock-in rule: Bandhan Bank gets Sebi relief

Bandhan Bank on Friday said the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has exempted the bank from observing the one-year promoter shareholding lock-in rule, allowing its promoter — Bandhan Financial Holdings Ltd — to bring down its holding from the current 82.28 per cent to 40 per cent in line with the RBI norms.

The promoters of Bandhan Bank have secured the exemption from the Sebi on a rule which restricts the sale of promoter shares for one year after a company goes public. While Bandhan Bank was listed on the bourses in March 2018, the promoter holding would be locked-in until March 2019 according to the Sebi guidelines. According to RBI rules, however, Bandhan Bank is required to bring down promoter shareholding to 40 per cent within three years of starting operations.

On September 28, the RBI barred Bandhan Bank from opening new branches and also ordered freezing of remuneration of its MD and CEO Chandra Shekhar Ghosh over the bank’s failure to adhere to the RBI’s bank licensing regulations.

The RBI has told the bank that since it’s was not able to bring down the shareholding of Non Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC) — the promoter of the bank — to 40 per cent from 82.28 per cent as required under the licensing condition, general permission “to open new branches stands withdrawn” and the bank can open branches with prior approval of the RBI.

It has also frozen the remuneration of the MD & CEO “at the existing level” till further notice.”The bank is taking necessary steps to comply with the licensing condition to bring down the shareholding of NOFHC in the bank to 40 per cent and shall continue to engage with the RBI in this behalf,” the bank had then said.

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