The lender is in talks with financial institutions, such as the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and some power finance companies, to down sell half of its exposure.
“SBI is down-selling Ganga Expressway loans to banks and financial institutions and is in the last leg of the process,” a banking industry source told ET. “SBI underwrote the entire amount with a view of down-selling part of it. It is up to the bank’s risk management team to decide on how much to keep and how much to down-sell.”
It is a standard practice in the infrastructure financing space for banks to downsell portions of large loan exposures.
At least four lenders have shown interest in buying the debt from SBI, including National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID), REC, PFC and Union Bank of India, another banking source said.
The loan, which is long term, fits well with the portfolio of NaBFID, an infrastructure-focused financier, as it seeks to sanction up to ₹1 lakh crore by March 2024. So far, it has disbursed ₹21,000 crore of loans, another source said. SBI refrained from selling down a portion of the loan in the previous year. The bank may decide to proportionately sell down the loan to all lenders based on their sanctions, the source added. Spokespersons of SBI, NaBFID and REC did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Union Bank of India could not be immediately reached.
The Ganga expressway in Uttar Pradesh, which will connect Meerut with Prayagraj, is going to be India’s longest expressway implemented on a toll basis. In 2021, Adani had won contracts from the Uttar Pradesh government to build three stretches of the 594-km Ganga Expressway while the fourth section was awarded to IRB Infrastructure. Of its 594-km length, the Adani group is building 464 km from Budaun to Prayagraj, which comprises 80% of the expressway project.
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