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UAE-Based Billionaire NRI Buys Stake in Indian Bank

Middle East : 19 July 2013

Source: Emirates 24|7 2013

Becomes largest individual shareholder in Federal Bank

UAE-based Indian businessman M A Yousuf Ali has increased his presence in the Indian banking sector by purchasing a 4.47 per cent stake in a private bank in the southern state of Kerala from Dubai-based Emirates Financial Services, a subsidiary of Emirates NBD.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, M A Yousuf Ali said the transaction was completed last week. He said he is keen to support Kerala-based Indian banks as he wants to have a strong presence in Kerala.

A month after a controversy erupted in Kerala about his Bolghatty Convention Centre project in Kochi and the opening of India’s largest shopping mall ‘Kochi Lulu’, Yousuf Ali seems to be showing his financial muscle power by purchasing shares in leading Kerala banks like Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB).

Yousuf Ali has become the single largest individual shareholder in Federal Bank, which has a strong deposit base of non-resident Indians from Kerala. Federal Bank shares are listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange is available in the market and any investor can purchase its shares without permission of the Reserve Bank of India, according to market sources.

“Emirates Financial Services was looking for an opportunity to sell the shares and we found a new opportunity in Kerala’s banking sector,” said an Emke Group official.

The group is already in the financial services business through Lulu International Money Exchange, which is expanding its branch network, capitalising on the 100-odd network of Lulu stores. The money exchange was set up in September 2008 and has 25 branches in UAE and Kuwait.

Recently another leading NRI group, the UAE Exchange, applied for a new banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi-based EMKE Group last week opened its new global corporate head office, Y Tower in Abu Dhabi, developed at a cost of Dh800 million. The twin office-cum-residential tower, located in the heart of Abu Dhabi city, is built on a land donated by the UAE rulers.

Yousuf Ali, who is listed as the top Indian businessman in the UAE by the ‘Forbes’ magazine, was in the news following allegations by a section of the Communist Party of India Marxist that the NRI investor had grabbed public land to build Lulu Mall in Kochi.

Yousuf Ali then dramatically announced withdrawal from the convention and exhibition centre project on Bolghatty Island in Kochi. But with the controversy subsiding, he has announced plans to continue with the convention project.

“My immediate priority is to complete the Bolghatty Convention and Exhibition Centre in Kochi,” he said last week.

He has also announced plans to expand the Lulu supermarket chain to Vietnam and other South East Asian countries.

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