Merger talks of RBB, NIDC gather pace

Kathmandu, August 6

The merger process between state-owned Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB) and NIDC Development Bank has gathered speed this week. The separate merger committees formed by both the banks have agreed to form a joint merger committee under the leadership of Nirmal Hari Adhikari, joint secretary of the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

“We have formed a joint merger committee, which will be responsible for finalising all the merger related issues,” said Kiran Shrestha, chief executive officer of RBB. According to him, the committee has set a target to finalise the merger process by October 17 this year. “The long Dashain vacation in between will surely affect the merger process but we will do our best to meet the deadline,” he added.

Earlier, the individual merger committees formed by the two banks had finalised a first draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Friday. However, both banks have now given the authority to finalise the MoU to the joint merger committee.

According to Shrestha, till date the banks have not delved into technical issues of the merger like capital ratio and management of employees. “Technical issues are yet to be solved. The only thing certain is that we will be merging,” he added.

RBB has planned to widen its branch network after the merger process is completed. The bank, which already has a presence in 68 districts with a network of 166 branches, has plans to add 43 new branches.

RBB has paid-up capital of Rs 8.5 billion and NIDC has Rs 650 million paid-up capital. NIDC has already finalised the Due Diligence Audit (DDA) to begin the merger process with RBB. RBB has also already calculated its net worth before starting the merger process.

The MoF has urged NIDC Development Bank not to extend the agreement of the staffs who have been hired on contract basis. Issuing a letter on May 7, MoF has also asked NIDC not to appoint any new staff on contract.

A Cabinet meeting, held on January 27, had also urged both the institutions to expedite the merger process. A committee that had been formed under the leadership of former secretary Prithvi Raj Ligal had also suggested NIDC to merge with RBB or to establish itself as an investment bank in collaboration with Hydropower Investment and Development Company Ltd.