Ananya Birla’s Svatantra buys Sachin Bansal’s Chaitanya for 1,479 crore

A file photo of Sachin Bansal
A file photo of Sachin Bansal

Summary

Almost a year after the Reserve Bank of India rejected Sachin Bansal’s universal banking licence, Flipkart co-founder has sold the microfinance company he acquired in September 2019.

Almost a year after the Reserve Bank of India rejected Sachin Bansal’s universal banking licence, Flipkart co-founder has sold the microfinance company he acquired in September 2019.

Ananya Birla’s Svatantra Microfin has acquired Chaitanya India Fin Credit, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bansal-owned Navi Group, for 1,479 crore.

Sachin Bansal bought Chaitanya India's parent Chaitanya Rural Intermediation Development Services for about 739 crore in 2019. The acquisition was Bansal’s entry into financial-services space. In May 2022, the RBI found Chaitanya India Fin Credit to be unsuitable for an ‘on tap’ banking licence.

Since the acquisition the Chaitanya saw its book size increasing from about 900 crore in March 2020 to over 4900 crore in March 31, 2023. It had a net worth of 721 crore as on March 31, 2023 which jumped through a further capital raise of 75 crore in June 2023.

The acquisition is expected to make Svatantra the second largest microfinance entity in India with a reach of more than 3.6 million active customers through 1,517 branches across 20 states and a combined AUM of 12,409 crore as on March 31, 2023, the company said in its statement.

“The proposed acquisition will propel Svatantra to a significant leadership position. The combined entity will command a substantial reach, enabling the delivery of a diverse array of financial services to our clients across a geographically diverse portfolio," Svatantra founder and chairperson Ananya Birla said.

“We have seen Chaitanya grow almost 6x in the last four years. This transaction is in line with our strategic plan to focus on our digital-first businesses, as we continue our digital-first financial services through the Navi Group," Bansal added.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, is subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and customary closing adjustments.

After selling his 5.5% stake in Flipkart in 2018 and making more than $1 billion, Bansal had ambitious plans in financial services and thus, he set up Navi Technologies. In February 2020, he also bought DHFL General Insurance from the beleaguered Wadhawan Group for 100 crore. However, soon after the acquisition several employees of DHFL, including the CEO and senior officials were laid off by Navi.

On 12 March 2022, Navi Technologies filed a draft for an 3350 crore IPO. Despite receiving Sebi nod in September last year, Navi is yet to launch its IPO.

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