Uday Kotak, billionaire and chairman of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd., looks on during a Bloomberg Television interview in Davos, Switzerland. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

Bombay High Court Again Refuses Interim Relief To Kotak Mahindra Bank On Promoter Stake Issue

The Bombay High Court again refused to grant any interim relief to Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. on the Reserve Bank of India’s direction to dilute promoter shareholding.

Harish Salve, senior counsel for Kotak Mahindra Bank, said since the RBI’s contention was with the concentration of control of power in the lender, it could give an undertaking that the founder won’t exercise his voting control in excess of 20 percent until May 2020.

The suggestion, however, was rejected by Justice AS Oka, saying the solution wasn’t “as simple as that”.

The court adjourned the case till April 1, when both parties make fresh submissions.

The RBI had ordered billionaire founder Uday Kotak to lower his stake in the private lender to 20 percent by December 2018 and further reduce it to 15 percent after May 2020. Kotak owns 29.7 percent stake in the bank as on Dec. 31.

Also read: RBI Says Yielding to Kotak Plea Would Erode Its Autonomy

In August, Kotak proposed to reduce his promoter holding in the bank using preference shares rather than bringing down his share of common equity. Days after, the RBI told Kotak that the perpetual non-convertible preference shares route to dilute promoter shareholding was not acceptable. The private sector lender moved the Bombay High Court in December after the central bank restricted it from reducing promoter holding using preference shares. The private lender is not just challenging the RBI’s disapproval of the use of preference shares in reducing promoter shareholding, but also whether the apex bank has the powers to dictate promoter shareholding.

Shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank today closed 1.1 percent higher than its previous close on the BSE.

Also read: Asia’s Richest Banker Gets Richer Amid Five-Year Tussle With RBI