India's SBI has 'well-manageable' exposure to Adani Group -CreditSights
(This Feb 7 story has been correctd to say Fitch Group, not rating agency Fitch, in first paragraph 1)
MUMBAI (Reuters) - State Bank of India's exposure to the embattled Adani Group is "well-manageable", given its strong buffer of provision reserves, said CreditSights, part of the Fitch Group, in a note on Tuesday.
SBI's total exposure to the conglomerate was 0.9% of its total loan book, or around 270 billion rupees, Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara said on Friday.
CreditSights pointed out that the country's largest lender has a provision reserves buffer of around 338 billion rupees ($4.08 billion), or around 1% of net loans.
It added SBI also has the capacity to generate pre-provisioning operating profit, or income before taking into account future bad debt provisions.
Additionally, most of the bank's exposure to the Adani Group was secured by completed and cash-generating assets while the rest of the exposure was to on-schedule, under-construction projects, said CreditSights.
SBI's Khara has said the Adani Group's exposure did not pose any concern for the bank and that he did not see any challenges to the conglomerate's ability to service its debt obligations.
Investors have been worried about various banks' exposure to the group ever since late January when U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg Research alleged improper use of offshore tax havens and stock manipulation by the conglomerate.
The group has rejected the criticism and denied wrongdoing in detailed rebuttals.
To allay concerns, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as the country's banking regulator, has said that the Indian banking system remains resilient and stable.
Although SBI has some non-funded exposure, it comprises letters of credit and bank guarantees that do not relate to equity raising or acquisition activities, CreditSights said.
Last week, SBI posted a 68.5% jump in net profit for the October-December quarter, boosted by better interest income and a drop in bad loan provisions.
CreditSights maintains a "market perform" recommendation on SBI. ($1 = 82.7475 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Siddhi Nayak; Editing by Savio D'Souza)