SBI’s total exposure to Adani Group at Rs 27,000 crore; none against shares: Chairman Dinesh Khara

SBI’s total exposure to the embattled Adani Group is 0.88 per cent of the book or about Rs 27,000 crore, and the country’s largest lender does not envisage any setback on its bets, a top official said on Friday.

At a time when the share prices of the group are getting hammered, the government-owned lender said it has not extended any loans against shares to the ports-to-mining group.

Speaking to reporters after the announcement of results, SBI Chairman Dinesh Khara clarified that the non-fund exposure is limited to letters of credit and performance bank guarantees, and is not related to any equity raising or acquisition activities of the Gautam Adani-led group.

“As far as the quantum is concerned, that is 0.88 per cent of our total loan book?we don’t envisage any kind of a challenge in terms of their ability to service the loan obligations which they have taken,” Khara said, adding the group has excellent repayment record.

“Also, we have not extended any loans against shares etc, there is no such portfolio which we have,” he noted.

The going has been tough for the Adani Group over the last week since the release of a report by a US short-seller made allegations of fraudulent transactions and share price manipulation.

The Adani Group cancelled a Rs 20,000 crore share sale a day after the issue was fully subscribed.

Amid the sharp corrections in its stock since last week, the country’s largest lender had sought to assuage investor concerns by clarifying that its exposure to Adani Group is fully secured by cash-generating assets.

On similar lines, Khara also said the project loans to Adani projects are “tangible assets”, having adequate cash generation.

“We have not issued any guarantee towards securing any of the financial obligations or acquisitions either. These are all performance guarantees or financial guarantees in the normal course of business. There is nothing which we have done that can cause concern to us,” he said.

When asked if the group is changing its diligence practices with regard to the Adani Group, given the ongoing events, Khara said the lender always insists on adequate equity to be brought in before releasing any amount.

“Unless the equity is seen, the amount is not released It is not so that we are waiting for any equity. Going forward as well, each of such proposals will be evaluated on its own merit. It is a decision with credit committees,” he said.

He also said that the pipeline of loans to be sanctioned will not change the overall exposure in a significant manner.

The Adani Group has not approached the bank for any loan refinancing, Khara said.

It can be noted that a lot of focus has been on the domestic financial institutions following the controversy, which includes the overall debt exposures and equity investments of government-owned companies to the group.

The Reserve Bank has also asked banks to share their exposures to Adani Group entities and the securities that they have.

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