AU Small Finance Bank reported a weak set of numbers for the quarter ended March, due to elevated stress in the bank’s balance sheet. AU’s gross non performing assets ratio deteriorated to 4.25 percent from 3.7 percent during the preceding quarter. Its restructured book increased 2.5 times quarter on quarter.
The poor financials caused the stock to slump 10 percent to Rs 1004.30 on Friday.
More than the numbers, the announcement of Chief Audit Officer, Nitin Gupta’s resignation on Friday night, a good 24 hours after the numbers were declared, has raised eyebrows.
The delay in the announcement is surprising because the decision had been taken at the board meeting to consider the results.
Even more surprising is the revelation that the resignation was tendered on March 3, and the bank’s board had met on March 9, to consider a qualified institutional placement (QIP) for Rs 625 crore. Gupta’s resignation was not mentioned in the offer document.
CNBC-TV18 learns from sources that Gupta had initially resigned sometime in the second week of December. The management had found a replacement but the hiring did not go through.
The following questions remain unanswered
1. What was the reason for the resignation of Nitin Gupta?
2. The filing on exchanges shows that Gupta’s resignation was on 3rd March’21 but it was not discussed at the March 9 board meet. Why?
3. Was the resignation of a key personnel like Gupta brought to the notice of prospective QIP investors?
4. Why was Gupta’s intention to quit not mentioned in the offer document?
5. It is not clear if the fourth quarter results were cleared by the audit committee on the watch of Nitin Gupta as a member?
6. Did Gupta offer any dissent or make any objection to the financials in the audit committee meeting held to clear the disclosures in the QIP offer document and the Q4FY21 public results?
7. Why was the disclosure regarding the resignation of Gupta disclosed to exchanges a day after the other matters approved by the board were disclosed?
We are awaiting a response from AU Small Finance Bank to our queries We will update this copy as and when they respond.