Axis Bank puts up trustee services for sale

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Axis Bank

has put up its trustee services for sale, underlining the lender’s focus on its core banking business under chief executive Amitabh Chaudhry.

Negotiations are ongoing with Beacon Trusteeship to sell the business, but General Atlantic Partners that too had shown interest seems to have exited the talks, two people with the direct knowledge of the matter told ET.

Axis Trusteeship, with a headcount of about 40 people, forms a small portion in the Axis family. The business is said to be valued at about Rs 200-225 crore.

Beacon and General Atlantic declined to comment. Axis Bank did not reply to ET’s queries until press time Wednesday.

“While Beacon Trusteeship is still looking to own the bond house, General Atlantic’s bid was a bit old, (made) a few quarters ago,” said one of the people.

General Atlantic wanted to retain the brand name with an Axis tag. Also, it looked for buying the company along with its existing clients. These two factors have perhaps led to the failure of the talks, said this person.

“Negotiations are still on for Beacon while General Atlantic offer may have died down,” said the second executive. While Beacon is said to be seeking a lower valuation, the bank is also exploring the opportunity with others.

A trustee is a kind of custodian for bond investors. If any crisis erupts while ensuring compliance related to investment, it acts on behalf of investors.

Axis Bank has been on the top of the Bloomberg debt capital market league table consecutively since 2007.

At the beginning of the year, former HDFC Standard Life Insurance boss Amitabh Chaudhry took charge of Axis Bank. Since then, the bank adopted tighter underwriting standards.

This year, the bank participated in 257 bond issues, arranging Rs 1.02 lakh crore. It holds a 25.79% table share in 2019, compared with 23.98% last year. More bond sales give business opportunities for trustees as they earn fees.

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