PNB to buy majority stake in Kazakh's Dana Bank

Punjab National Bank, India's second-largest public sector lender, has received approval from its board of directors to acquire a majority stake of about 63 per cent in Kazakhstan-based Dana Bank.

The bank stated in a communiqué that this acquisition is going to be the bank's first international acquisition and will entail an investment of $24 million (Rs115 crore). The bank has set up a representative office in the Kazakh city of Almaty.

''The board on Thursday approved acquisition of 63.6 per cent stake in Kazakhstan-based Dana Bank,'' PNB's newly-appointed chairman and managing director K R Kamath told reporters after announcing the second-quarter numbers. The joint venture would have five branches, he said.

Kamath also said that PNB expects to complete 26 per cent stake sale in its wholly-owned housing finance subsidiary by December this year. Steps are also on to merge PNB Gilts with the parent bank, he said.

Reports say that PNB, which plans to expand its footprint in eight countries, is looking at options to introduce few more offices internationally, including one in Shanghai. It is also looking at establishing an arm in Vancouver, Canada, as well as a joint-venture company in Bhutan. Recently, the lender inaugurated branches in Hong Kong and the UK as well.

In September this year, it initiated talks with Metrokombank, another lender in Kazakhstan. The development of the talks is not known. Other places where it has opened branches include Dubai, Shanghai, Singapore, Kabul and Norway. It and has entered into a joint venture with Everest Bank in Kathmandu.

The bank on Thursday reported a 31.1 per cent growth in net profit at Rs927 crore in the second quarter ended September. The growth in profit is fuelled by higher interest and treasury income.

PNB said the growth in profit was after making provisions for revised wages. Net interest income grew by 22.4 per cent, while net non-performing assets were down to 0.14 per cent.