Privatisation of public sector banks (PSBs) is finally here. On Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the Narendra Modi government would divest its stake in two PSBs, apart from one general insurance company. Moreover, the disinvestment process of IDBI Bank will also be completed in the next fiscal.
While the FM did not name in her Budget 2021 speech the two banks the government plans to privatise, analysts point out Bank of Baroda (BoB) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) are possible candidates.
Both state-run lenders have seen their balance sheet swell as smaller PSBs were merged with the two. While Bank of Baroda absorbed Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce were merged with Punjab National Bank.
After the announcement, BoB shares shot up 8.6 percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange while PNB shares closed almost 7 percent higher. Stocks of most commercial banks ended in green Monday following a series of budget announcements to foster banking sector reforms.
“After the government’s last announced merger of 13 public sector banks into five, the government has taken the first step towards privatising state-run banks starting with the divestment of two PSU banks, in a bid to expedite long-awaited reforms in the banking sector. We believe merged PSU banks like BoB, PNB or non-merged banks like Bank of India, Bank of Maharashtra, maybe on the radar,” said Kajal Gandhi, BFSI analyst stockbroker ICICIdirect.
Bank of India, UCO Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, and Punjab & Sind Bank are some of the PSBs that were not a part of the merger.