DBS CEO Says Not Concerned About $976 Million Adani Exposure

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(Bloomberg) — DBS Group Holdings Ltd. has about a S$1.3 billion ($976 million) exposure to Adani Group, of which S$1 billion is from a cement firm acquisition financing and the remaining S$300 million is from other Adani firms, its Chief Executive Officer Piyush Gupta said at a briefing Monday.

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Singapore’s biggest lender has no exposure to Adani’s share issues, Gupta said. He added the company has solid cashflows, and he isn’t concerned about the lender’s exposure to the Adani Group as these cashflows are ringfenced.

“This exposure is tightly managed,” Gupta said, referring to the cement transaction.

Adani had previously touted its deep global banking ties, saying its portfolio companies have shown successful syndication of banking transactions. It cited as an example deals such as its $10.5 billion acquisition of Holcim Ltd.’s Indian cement operations.

DBS’s lending to the Adani group accounts for less than 1% of the bank’s total loans, said Rena Kwok, a credit research analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Singapore. “We believe there are no material downside risks to DBS’ asset quality from its exposures.”

The focus on Adani’s banking relationships has been in the spotlight amid the turmoil arising from the group’s battle with US short seller Hindenburg Research, that has accused it of accounting fraud and stock manipulation. Already, some lenders have balked at refinancing a bridge loan, though the banks in India have largely brushed off the concerns surrounding the billionaire’s empire.

Among Singapore banks, DBS has been the most aggressive in expanding in India. More than two years ago, it took over Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. in a deal orchestrated by the country’s central bank, the first time authorities turned to a foreign lender to bail out a struggling local institution. Since then, it’s looking to invest more in its India unit to accelerate growth.

–With assistance from Natalie Choy.

(Adds analyst’s comment in fifth paragraph.)

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