Bank of Baroda Willing to Consider to Lending Adani Group More Money, Says CEO

“I'm not concerned about the market volatility around Adani stocks," the bank's CEO said. “You have underwriting standards and you stick to them in good times as well as bad times."

New Delhi: In an interview to Bloomberg, chief executive officer and managing director of Bank of Baroda Sanjiv Chadha has said that the bank will be willing consider lending more money to the Adani group, despite the allegations made by Hindenburg Research and the free fall in Adani stock prices that followed.

Bank of Baroda will extend loans to the conglomerate if it meets the lender’s underwriting standards, Chadha said. “I’m not concerned about the market volatility around Adani stocks,” he added. “You have underwriting standards and you stick to them in good times as well as bad times.”

Chadha refused to reveal the bank’s existing exposure to the Adani group. Earlier this month though, according to Livemint, he had said that the Bank of Baroda’s exposure to the Adani group is about a quarter of what is permitted under the Reserve Bank of India’s framework.

The bank, Chadha said, will consider extending loans to the group for its Dharavi redevelopment project. The Adani group had bid Rs 50.7 billion for the project to remodel the slum last year. “This is subject to an extended due diligence and depends upon concentration limits,” he said.

In a report, Hindenburg Research has accused the Adani group of widespread accounting fraud and stock manipulation. The group has denied all these allegations. Since the report’s publication on January 24, Adani group’s listed firms have lost $120 billion in market value.

To deal with this fallout, Gautam Adani has reportedly hired crisis communication and legal teams based in the US. His companies have also scrapped a $850 million coal plant purchase, reined in expenses, repaid some debt and promised to repay more, Bloomberg reported.

“Besides a campaign to portray themselves as responsible borrowers with prepayments and on-time payments of debt, executives have also kicked off a series of meetings to pacify overseas bondholders, who were tapped by the tycoon for more than Rs 66,158 crore ($8 billion) funding in recent years,” the Bloomberg report says.

Adani has reportedly hired the same public relations firm – Kekst CNC – that has dealt with several global image crises, like the WeWork crash. “Kekst is working with Adani’s C-suite and communications team, and could put them through a “situation room” — the firm’s term for a simulated crisis in which executives are bombarded with tweets, calls from journalists and other stressful developments,” according to a Bloomberg source.

Financial Times had earlier reported that Adani has hired US law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz “to advise it on how to stem the crisis facing the Indian conglomerate”. This is one of the most expensive law firms in the US. “Wachtell will predominantly focus on co-ordinating legal, regulatory and public relations for the group,” Financial Times said.