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Report: Catholic Syrian Bank told to settle valuation price with Fairfax

The Reserve Bank of India told Catholic Syrian Bank Ltd. to settle differences in pricing valuation with Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. before dealing other potential buyers, Mint reported May 31, citing "two people aware of the matter."

Catholic Syrian Bank reportedly reached a higher valuation than what Fairfax Financial had assigned. Fairfax Financial had arrived at in its valuation after taking into consideration Catholic Syrian Bank's performance six months ago, said one of the sources.

Fairfax Financial had obtained approval from the Reserve Bank of India in late 2016 for a possible deal to acquire a 51% stake in Catholic Syrian Bank. The Indian lender had appointed an external agency for evaluating the stake and the agency pegged the value at about 165 to 200 Indian rupees per share, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Catholic Syrian Bank is now expecting a higher valuation following the revival of the Indian markets and the bank's improved performance. Fairfax Financial is reportedly reluctant to pay a premium after the central bank had capped voting rights in a private sector bank at 15%. The regulator has asked for a meeting with Catholic Syrian Bank to discuss these issues.

Fairfax Financial is not the only party interested in a stake in Catholic Syrian Bank. Aion Capital Partners, which is backed by Apollo Global, and Everstone Capital have reportedly approached the bank over a possible deal.

Spokespersons for Catholic Syrian Bank and the RBI did not respond to emails from Mint seeking comment. Fairfax Financial did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

As of May 30, US$1 was equivalent to 64.57 Indian rupees.