No talks ongoing currently on acquiring Spandana Sphoorty: Axis Bank

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Axis Bank on Tuesday said it will not be joining force with peers seeking an extension of timelines for meeting financial parameters on loans recast under the Kamath committee framework because of the pandemic-related stress.

Its deputy managing director (designate) Rajiv Anand also made it clear that there are no conversations around a deal with Spandana Sphoorty at present, denying reports of the third-largest lender being interested to buy the microlender.

“I think there is some conversation that is going on currently among some of the banks with RBI to extend the Kamath Committee timelines (for restructuring of corporate loans). We are not seeing any need to do that at this point of time,” Anand told reporters here.

Earlier in the day, there was a report saying individual banks, and also the industry lobby grouping Indian Banks Association have written to the RBI seeking another extension to the October 2022 deadline to be met by borrowers on financial strengths.

The deadline has already been extended once, and if the borrowers are not able to meet the parameters, the banks are required to classify the loans as “non-performing”.

Lenders pitching for it are seeking another six months’ extension, claiming that restructuring of accounts under the framework is still underway, slower recovery in some sectors and the uncertainties caused by the Omicron variant, as per the report.

On the speculations of the deal with Spandana, which would have reportedly helped reduce its priority sector lending costs, Anand said there is no conversation happening right now.

“Currently there are no conversations on with Spandana Sphoorty. Are we exploring other opportunities, there is nothing on the table at the moment. But if the right opportunity comes along, we will certainly look at it,” Anand said.

Meanwhile, Anand said the bank’s pipeline for corporate loans is stronger than it was in the last three years, which witnessed a deleveraging by bigger companies.

Companies in the renewable energy, data centres, speciality chemicals, roads, electronics and solar cells sectors are coming up with proposals for capital expenditure-related loans, he said, adding that client meetings are up four times.

The private capex will be higher in FY23 when compared to the levels observed in the last three to four years, he said, adding that the bank also expects a 0.50 per cent cut in the repo rate by the RBI next year.

From an asset quality perspective, he said the bank is not seeing meaningful slippages in its large-ticket loans and the concerns on small business loans are also less than expected.

The bank is willing to grow both on the corporate and retail side, Anand said, adding that it has the right people, technologies, balance sheet and processes in place.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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