State Bank of India, the country’s largest financier, has given loans of as much as $2.6 billion to companies in the Adani conglomerate, or about half of what is allowed under rules, according to a person familiar with the matter. SBI’s exposure includes $200 million from its overseas units, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Dinesh Kumar Khara, chairman of SBI, said earlier on Thursday the Adani Group companies were servicing the loans and he doesn’t see an “immediate challenge” to whatever the bank has lent so far.
The Reserve Bank of India, the nation’s banking regulator, had asked lenders for details of their exposure to the conglomerate following a rout in group companies’ stock prices, Bloomberg News reported earlier Thursday. A representative for SBI didn’t respond to an email seeking comment on the exposure.
The exposure by various financiers to companies controlled by Gautam Adani has come under increasing scrutiny after their shares plunged following a scathing report from US-based Hindenburg Research. Wealth units of Credit Suisse Group AG and Citigroup Inc. have stopped accepting securities from the group as collateral for margin loans to their clients, Bloomberg News reported earlier.
Adani has repeatedly denied the allegations and called the report “bogus,” and threatened legal action. Other domestic banks are also confident the Indian group can service its loans. State-run Punjab National Bank’s exposure to Adani companies was 70 billion rupees, Atul Goel, its chief executive, told reporters last month. About a third of it was to Adani’s airport business and cash-flows back the entire advances, Goel said.
Private sector IDFC First Bank Ltd. said in an exchange filing on Thursday that the funded outstanding exposure to the Adani Group was less than 0.1 per cent of its total loans. Meanwhile, IndusInd Bank Ltd. with a loan book of 29 trillion rupees said its exposure to the conglomerate accounted for 0.5 per cent of its loan book.