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2 PE firms want to have stake in Catholic Syrian Bank

Two PE firms – Aion Capital Partners, backed by Apollo Global Management and Everstone Capital Advisors – have expressed interest in buying a stake in Catholic Syrian Bank. The two entities have entered the fray recently after the Reserve Bank of India had approved a proposal in 2016 by Fairfax Financial Holdings, owned by Prem Vatsa, to take up negotiations with the bank for a possible equity acquisition. Everstone Capital Advisors has mooted to the board of the bank that it would merge its own finance company, IndoStar Capital Finance, with the bank. Fairfax has mandate from the regulator to negotiate for acquiring as much as 51% stake in the bank. However, the talks are bogged down because of the gap between the valuations the two parties have assigned to the bank. The bank, according to reports, is assuming a price of Rs 165 to Rs 200 per share based on a valuation by an external agency. Recently, Vallabh Bhansali, chairman of Enam group, had picked up a nearly 4% stake in the bank at a valuation of Rs160 per share. Meanwhile, RBI has told the bank to clear the differences over valuation with Fairfax, before looking at other investors.

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