‘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
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