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Kolkata: The Centrum Group has roped in EY to find a buyer for its stake in housing loan subsidiary Centrum Housing Finance.

The Jaspal Bindra-led group plans to either exit the housing finance business fully or pare stake to become a minority shareholder.

“If we get a good value, we can look at divesting the business or monetise it,” Bindra told ET. “It’s still at an exploratory stage. We have told EY to look at the various options.”

Centrum holds about 60% in the mortgage lending arm while Morgan Stanley has 25% interest. The balance is held by employees and other investors.

While the group transferred all its lending businesses to Unity Small Finance Bank, which is 51% owned by it, it did not do so for the housing business.

“All our lending businesses we moved to the bank when the licence came. Housing we could not move because it was complicated, because 25% was owned by Morgan Stanley, which cannot be a shareholder in a bank because of the US regulation, because they are a bank in the US,” Bindra said.

The Centrum Group and BharatPe consortium acquired the crisis-laden Punjab & Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank and merged it with Unity Small Finance Bank set up by them.

Another option for moving the housing business into the bank could be divesting Morgan Stanley’s stake, which is also a time consuming affair.

The group moved its MSME, microfinance and supply chain businesses to Unity Bank. It had bought the supply chain business from L&T Finance while the microfinance loans were bought from FirstRand Bank.

Centrum Housing Finance, which commenced operations in 2017, acquired the business of National Trust Housing Finance (Natrust) in December 2022 for Rs 112 crore to have a foothold in the southern markets.

The Centrum Group also has a wealth advisory business, and offers investment banking, stock broking and asset management services.

  • Published On Nov 25, 2023 at 07:49 AM IST

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