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Published on 16/03/2020 10:22:02 AM | Source: Reuters

SBI Cards slides in debut hobbled by virus panic

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Shares in the credit-card arm of India's largest lender slid 7.5% in their market debut on Monday, as coronavirus worries dampened enthusiasm for one of the country's largest public listings in recent times.

Shares in SBI Cards and Payment Services Ltd, owned by State Bank of India, opened at 661 rupees ($8.91), a discount of 12.45% to its offer price of 755 rupees. The stock was last trading nearly 7.2% lower at 700 rupees.

The underwhelming debut comes as markets worldwide are hammered by the fast-spreading virus, which has wreaked havoc on businesses and supply chains, stoking fears of a global recession.

The panic has pushed India's blue-chip Nifty 50 index down 18.59% in the last three weeks. The index was down a further 5% on Monday. [.BO]

SBI Cards priced its initial public offering at 755 rupees per share - the upper end of its targeted range - aiming to raise $1.4 billion and making it the country's largest IPO in over two years.

The company had received an overwhelming response to the offering with its shares being subscribed 22.45 times on the final day of bidding.

The listing also comes as Asia's third largest economy grapples with flagging economic growth, although many analysts have advised investors to buy into the offering on the promise of India's burgeoning middle class and the company's strong financials.

(Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)