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ICICI Bank Under Fire for Allegedly Pressuring Shareholders in I-Sec Delisting Plan

ICICI Bank faces criticism for its methods in convincing shareholders to support the delisting of its subsidiary ICICI Securities. Minority shareholders allege undue pressure and claim the valuation offered is unfair.

ICICI Bank Under Fire for Allegedly Pressuring Shareholders in I-Sec Delisting Plan

Minority Shareholders Cry Foul in ICICI Bank's Delisting Bid. ICICI Bank's proposal to delist its broking unit, ICICI Securities, has hit a rough patch. Minority shareholders are accusing the bank of employing heavy-handed tactics to garner support for the delisting plan.

 

The Delisting Plan and Shareholder Concerns. ICICI Bank, holding a majority stake in ICICI Securities, proposed a share-swap ratio where ICICI Securities' shareholders would receive 67 shares of the parent bank for every 100 shares they own. However, this ratio is facing criticism. Minority shareholders claim the valuation offered significantly undervalues ICICI Securities compared to its peers.

 

Allegations of Coaxing and Scrutiny Threats. Several ICICI Securities' shareholders came forward, alleging that the bank's executives were pressuring them to vote in favor of the delisting resolution. Market experts like Deepak Shenoy of Capital Mind expressed concern that such actions could attract scrutiny from SEBI, India's securities regulator. Shenoy highlighted the questionable practice of requesting email confirmations for votes, suggesting undue influence.

 

Valuation Concerns and Potential Backlash. Quantum Asset Management, a shareholder in both entities, raised further concerns. They claim the proposed ratio undervalues ICICI Securities by 30% to 77% compared to similar listed companies. Consequently, Quantum voted against the resolution.

 

Shareholders Voice Their Discontent. Several individual shareholders also voiced their disapproval online. Chander Bhatia, another shareholder, pointed out the significant discount offered compared to peers. Gautam Pradhan expressed concerns that the pressure tactics might backfire, leading previously uninvolved shareholders to vote against the proposal. Nilesh Shetty, a portfolio manager at Quantum Advisors, went a step further, calling the valuation "one of the cheapest" he's witnessed in an Indian delisting, reflecting poorly on ICICI Bank's corporate governance.

 

Next Steps and Lingering Questions. The voting for the resolution has concluded. While the outcome is yet to be announced, ICICI Bank is scheduled to hold a virtual call to discuss the resolution. Independent advisors like Manu Rishi Guptha of MGR Capital are urging their clients to vote against the plan, advocating for a valuation closer to ICICI Securities' IPO price six years ago.

 

The ICICI Bank-ICICI Securities delisting saga highlights the importance of fair valuation and transparent communication during such processes. As SEBI monitors the situation, questions remain regarding the outcome of the vote and the potential consequences for ICICI Bank's reputation.

 


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