Yet to decide on roping in partner for credit cards biz: SBI

Country's largest lender SBI today said it is yet to decide on roping in a partner for its credit cards business after its long-time associate GE Capital has announced to exit financial business globally.

Yet to decide on roping in partner for credit cards biz: SBI
"We will see whether we will do it alone or bring in some other strategic partner... it could be either of the two," State Bank of India Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya told reporters here. "We have to see what is GE's plan exactly.

At this point of time no decision has been taken," she added. SBI entered the credit card business in 1998 with GE Capital India, the consumer finance arm of GE Capital. At present, GE Capital owns 40 per cent stake in SBI Cards, while the remaining stake is with the State Bank. Bhattacharya said GE Capital has unofficially informed the bank about their intention to exit from the business which is part of their global plans.

"They (GE Capital) have advised us not by any means of official communication, but we have had conversation around this," she said. When asked about the future action plan for SBI Cards, Bhattacharya said there was no hurry.

"There is no big hurry. GE Capital is very clear about it that they are not here to destroy value. So, it will only happen when everybody is comfortable with the whole thing," she said. SBI Cards chief executive Vijay Jasuja had said last month that the company has started exercise for a possible new investor or a public offer. "We have started a formal valuation exercise to arrive at our current market value.

The exercise may take a month from now to complete," Jasuja had said. Talking about the possible options available, he had said that either SBI can buy back the entire 40 per cent stake of GE Capital or the stake can be sold to another investor through a private placement, or the company can go in for a public issue. SBI Cards has around 3 million active credit cards in circulation, making it the third largest player in the sector after HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank with a market share of 15 per cent in FY15.


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Story first published: Thursday, May 7, 2015, 17:15 [IST]
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