KOCHI: The Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB) on Wednesday confirmed that Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax India Holdings would acquire 51 per cent stake in the bank. Meeting media in Kochi after the board meeting of the bank at its headquarters in Thrissur, CSB Chairman S Santhanakrishnan said Fairfax India would invest Rs 1,000 crore in the bank and the deal was likely to be closed by March 2017. He said the CSB was not worried about Fairfax acquiring the stake because it will have voting rights only for 15 per cent.


“We hope to get in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India by December. 90 days is a good time to finish the process. Fairfax had applied to RBI showing willingness to invest up to Rs 1,000 crore in an Indian bank in June. RBI in-turn forwarded the proposal to CSB which conveyed its readiness. It is good to raise money from a single investor instead of looking around for capital,” he said. The Rs 1,000 crore will allow the bank to increase its business by 10 times.


“After getting the approval we will appoint an independent evaluator to value the bank. As per my back of envelope calculation, the bank is valued around Rs 1500-2000 crore,” he said.


On IPO, he said, it will be more to meet the Regulator’s norm and that could be done somewhere in the end of 2017 or in early 2018. Addressing the concerns raised by LuLu Group MD Yusuff Ali M A, the largest shareholder in the bank, he said neither the headquarters of the bank would be shifted nor its name would be changed. “We will honour our commitments to Yusuff Ali, Thrissur Bishop and the Board of Directors,” he said.  T S Anantharaman will take over as the chairman of the bank from December 1 from Santhanakrishnan. He will continue as director after retirement.