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Srei Infra may foray into banking

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Srei Infrastructure today said it is likely to venture into banking.

The company shared its plans followed by the Reserve Bank's (RBI) announcement that it is mulling granting banking licence to a "limited number" of new private players.

"We are a company and we would like to venture into banking," Kanoria family-promoted Srei Infrastructure Finance's Vice-Chairman Sunil Kanoria told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference here.

"We will go through the guidelines of the RBI and if it permits, we will enter into the sector," Kanoria said.

After the 11 per cent stake-sale of Viom Networks, a leading telecom infrastructure company promoted by Tata Tele and Srei, to a consortium of SBI-Macquarie for Rs 1,400 crore to clear debts, the company will now be able to raise funds and look for acquisition opportunities, he said.

The consortium has an exit period of five-years and the company will come out with a public offer in the next 1-3 years, he said.

Asked if the company would venture into overseas markets (in the telecom tower business), Kanoria said "no comments."

Tata Teleservices, the major stakeholder in Viom Networks with a 54 per cent stake said the company would not reduce its stake below 50 per cent to add more neutrality into its tower arm business.

"Our tower business is always neutral and that gets us more tenancy. There is no question of reducing our stake as of now," Tata Teleservice's Managing Director Anil Kumar Sardana said.

Refuting news reports that Japanese Company Docomo is increasing its stake in Tata Teleservices by investing $1-billion, Sardana said, "there is no such discussion or even a thought in the minds of the concerned people. It is completely baseless."

First Published: Wed, August 11 2010. 20:41 IST