‘Axis Doesn’t Need Merger to Grow’

CEO Shikha Sharma says Axis Bank hasn’t been sounded out by suit­ors, has ex­pan­sion blue­print in place

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

Mum­bai: Axis Bank doesn’t need a merger to grow and has a blue­print for ex­pan­sion in place, chief ex­ec­u­tive Shikha Sharma said.

“It is good to feel like a beau­ti­ful bride that ev­ery­body is as­pir­ing for, but the point is that the beau­ti­ful bride is not putting up her hand for mar­riage,” Sharma told ET in an in­ter­view. “You can have a lot of suit­ors but there is not go­ing to be a mar­riage.” The stock has surged 17% in a month amid spec­u­la­tion that po­ten­tial suit­ors such as Ko­tak Mahin­dra Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and In­dusInd Bank are eye­ing it with view to a merger or an ac­qui­si­tion. All the banks men­tioned have de­nied or de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter.

Axis is re­garded as a prize for de­liv­er­ing the sec­ond-best re­turns among ma­jor banks for share­hold­ers in eight years and build­ing a fran­chise that’s well po­si­tioned to cap­i­talise on In­dia’s multi-year growth story. Founded as UTI Bank in the early 90s in the first round of pri­vate sec­tor bank li­cens­ing by the Re­serve Bank of In­dia, its mar­ket value is now at .₹ 1.26 lakh crore as of Thurs­day’s close — .₹ 527.65 on the BSE. It’s been the top bank in debt syn­di­ca­tion in the coun­try for nearly a decade and is among the top three in equity mar­kets as well. Its re­tail de­posit mar­ket share is 5% while in re­tail loans it’s 6% and on credit cards, 10%. Among ma­jor banks, Axis has de­liv­ered the sec­ond-best re­turns af­ter HDFC Bank since 2009, the year Sharma moved into the corner of­fice. The bank has de­liv­ered 410% re­turns, com­pared with the Nifty Bank in­dex’s 308% in the pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to the ETIG data­base. For State Bank of In­dia, this stands at 105% and for ICICI Bank, 206%.

It is good to feel like a beau­ti­ful bride that ev­ery­body is as­pir­ing for, but the point is that the beau­ti­ful bride is not putting up her hand for mar­riage

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