Airtel joins HDFC, Kotak in new Tata Sons proposed NUE Ferbine

Airtel joins HDFC, Kotak in new Tata Sons proposed NUE Ferbine
Photo Credit: VCCircle
1 Mar, 2021

Bharti Airtel on Friday said it will shore up 5,000 equity shares (or 10%) of New Umbrella Entity (NUE) Ferbine for a sum of Rs 50,000, joining a consortium including the likes of HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Incorporated on January 18, 2021, Ferbine aims to offer payment, remittance, and technology services as a pan-India Umbrella Entity  (PUE) authorised by Reserve Bank of India under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act 2007, in the space of retail payments.

Ferbine is set to make an application to the central bank for a PUE license, as per a stock exchange filing from Bharti Airtel.

Mastercard and Naspers-backed PayU, reportedly, are also part of the consortium.

Proposed NUEs plan to create stakes in India's existing digital payments ecosystem, which is currently dominated by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Late February, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) said in separate regulatory filings that each will pick up a 9.99% stake in the Tata Sons promoted company.

Ferbine’s directors include Suprakash Mukhopadhyay, ‎who is vice president and company secretary at Tata Consultancy Services  and Modan Saha, the CEO of Tata Strategic Management Group.

The central bank, RBI, on Friday extended the deadline for stakeholders to apply for the New Umbrella Entity (NUE) licence to March 31, 2021. The original deadline was on February 26, 2021.

Late last week, Economic Times reported that the Tata Group had taken over State Bank of India's bid for a NUE payments licence, after the state-run lender's bid was flagged by the finance ministry for potential competition risk.

Explained: The RBI mooted NUE for digital payments and how it will impact NPCI

To apply for an NUE license, companies are required to have a net worth of at least Rs 300 crore at any given point, paid up capital of Rs 500 crore, and a prior experience of minimum three years in the payments space.

No single promoter or group of promoters in the entity can have more than 40% shareholding, or less than 10%. The promoter/promoter group shareholding can be diluted a minimum of 25% only after five years of operations.