BENGALURU: The race to acquire scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC) is heating up. Payments startup BharatPe and financial service firm Centrum are set to submit an aggressive bid to the RBI. The joint bid is said to have a proposal to pay back 100% to retail depositors, who want to withdraw, according to sources aware of the matter.
Though the final date for submitting bids was Monday, the RBI has extended the deadline to February 1 on request from UK’s Liberty Group, which had also submitted an expression of interest (EoI) to acquire the bank.
India-born British businessman Sanjeev Gupta-led Liberty Group had said that the recent cancellation of flights to India due to the Covid-19 new strain in the UK had made it difficult for the group to conduct due diligence on PMC Bank and prepare its bid in time. The two other independent business families, who had submitted EoIs to the RBI, are said to be out of the race.
“BharatPe and Centrum are finalising a strong bid. After submitting the bid, the RBI is expected to meet the bidders one-on-one to pick the winning offer,” a person aware of the matter said.
When contacted, a spokesperson of the Liberty Group and BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover declined to comment. An email sent to the RBI did not elicit any response. The RBI had extended its restrictions on PMC Bank till March 2021.
As of March 2020, PMC Bank had deposits of Rs 10,727 crore, total advances of Rs 4,473 crore, and gross nonperforming assets of Rs 3,519 crore.
The share capital of the bank is Rs 293 crore but the bank registered a net loss of Rs 6,835 crore in FY20 with a negative net worth of Rs 5,850 crore. PMC Bank ran into trouble after the detection of financial irregularities and misreporting of loans given to realty developer HDIL.