The State Bank of India (SBI) is in the midst of negotiations on acquisition of Rupali Bank of Bangladesh at a cost of US$100 million within the next two months.
"Discussions are on for acquisition of an overseas bank. It is likely to be finalised in two months time," the SBI Chairman A K Purwar was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying in New Delhi Sunday.
Purwar had earlier said that the bank is now eying acquisition of a medium-sized bank and was willing to spend up to US$ 100 million for the buy-out.
The SBI has identified the bank in Bangladesh for acquisition, but is tight-lipped as it has to abide by local laws until the deal is clinched, the news agency reported.
However, the Privatisation Commission (PC) has already decided to go for road-shows at home and abroad to sell the 67 per cent shares of the already partly-divested Rupali Bank.
"We will arrange the road-shows in the different parts of the world including Dubali, Kula Lumpur and London in the current month for seeking international buyers for the loss-making bank," a senior PC official told the FE Sunday.
Meanwhile, the PC has extended the date for submission of the expression of interest (EoI) letters from earlier-set February 28 to April 9 for smooth completion of the whole process.
The PC will prepare a short list after receiving the EoIs for floating the tender to sell the Rupali Bank, the official added.
On the other hand, the SBI DFHI Limited, a subsidiary company of the SBI, has also shown interest in expanding its business in Bangladesh through establishing a unit in Dhaka.
The SBI DFHI Limited has already applied to the Bangladesh Bank (BB) for issuing a primary dealer (PD) licence to deal in the government-approved securities and bonds in the local market.
Senior officials of the SBI DFHI Limited have already met the high-ups of the BB to discuss the existing rules and regulations for issuing PD licence in Bangladesh, sources concerned said.
Earlier, the United Bank of India (UBI) showed its willingness to open a representative office in Dhaka.
Sources in banking sector said a high-powered team of the UBI visited Bangladesh for assessing the market size and possible growth of the banking sector in the country.
Currently, the ICICI Bank Ltd. is operating its Bangladesh representative office in the capital city.
A total of 10 foreign commercial banks including the State Bank of India (SBI) are operating their business in the country, along with 30 local private commercial banks of Bangladesh.