Port Louis: Hinduja Group India Ltd, owned by the billionaire Hinduja brothers, is considering buying a majority stake in state-owned MauBank Ltd of Mauritius, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Selling control of MauBank would enable the Mauritian government to recoup some of the money its used to bail out the lender.

The government has spent 600 crore Mauritian rupees ($182 million) since 2015, when it created National Commercial Bank to acquire some of the assets of collapsed lender Bramer Bank Corp.

The government then merged the bank with the loss-making Mauritius Post Cooperative Bank to create MauBank.

Representatives of Hinduja completed due diligence on MauBank and the Mauritian lender is now awaiting an investment decision by the Mumbai-based company, said the people who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Hinduja may buy as much as 75% of the holding company of the Ebene-based bank, said one of the people.

“We confirm being considered by a strategic investor," MauBank chief executive officer Sridhar Nagarajan said in an emailed response to questions on Monday.

“The due diligence has been completed and the discussion has moved to the next stage," said Nagarajan.

MauBank, which has assets totalling 2,620 crore Mauritian rupees, returned to profit in the year through June 2017 and the lender is “ripe" for a strategic investor, Nagarajan said in October.

The bank expects to complete a stake sale in the first half of 2018, Le Defi Quotidien newspaper reported earlier this month.

A Mumbai-based representative for the Hinduja Group did not immediately respond to an email and phone calls seeking comments. Bloomberg

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