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No comment from Emirates NBD on bid for Indian bank

IDBI Bank Reuters/Adnan Abidi
India’s government announced it would sell a 61 percent stake in IDBI Bank last October
  • Five bidders reported to be conducting due diligence to buy IDBI Bank
  • State-owned bank is India’s 14th largest, with assets of $36 billion
  • Emirates NBD planning foreign acquisitions in large population markets

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, declined to comment to AGBI on Thursday following reports that it is one of at least five potential bidders for a majority stake in India’s state-owned IDBI Bank. 

Emirates NBD and its rival First Abu Dhabi are on the lookout for foreign acquisitions as the Gulf state’s domestic banking sector growth slows. 

Shayne Nelson, Emirates NBD’s chief executive, said back in January that his priority targets were markets with large populations and strong demographics, highlighting the strong trading and investment links between the UAE and India. 

Last October, India’s government announced it would sell a 61 percent stake in IDBI Bank. Combined, the government and state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India hold 94 percent of IDBI’s shares. 

On January 7, India’s Department of Investment and Public Asset Management tweeted that “multiple expressions of interest received” for the sale, adding, “the transaction will now move to the second stage”. 

Reuters reported on Thursday that Emirates NBD and India banking duo Kotak Mahindra Bank and CSB Bank were among five potential bidders, citing unidentified sources. 

These bidders have been conducting due diligence subsequent to expressing their interest, the sources said. India’s central bank is also evaluating the prospective bidders, Reuters reported. 

IDBI is India’s 14th largest bank with assets of almost 3 trillion rupees ($36 billion), according to Insider Monkey. 

UAE banking industry loan growth will slow to around 3 percent this year, S&P Global forecasts, down from nearly 6 percent in 2022. Higher interest rates, a slowdown in non-oil activity and uncertain global economic conditions are depressing borrowing demand. 

It is these dynamics that are spurring Emirates NBD and First Abu Dhabi to consider foreign acquisitions, according to analysts. 

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