DBS said to be eyeing RBS India

MUMBAI • DBS Group Holdings, South-east Asia's largest bank, and IDFC Bank are among suitors preparing final bids for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group's Indian onshore assets, people familiar with the matter said.

The banks plan to submit offers by this week's deadline for the British lender's portfolio of loans and deposits in India, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

RBS had a balance sheet of 190 billion rupees (S$4 billion) and a loan book of 111 billion rupees in India at the end of March, according to financial statements posted on its website.

Since taking over leadership of RBS two years ago, chief executive officer Ross McEwan has eliminated thousands of jobs, exited countries around the globe and sold assets to help return Britain's largest government- owned lender to an annual profit.

The bank sold its offshore Indian loan assets in October and aims to complete the sale of its private banking business in the country in the first quarter of next year.

The bank's Indian business has loaned money to the local units of US, European and Canadian companies, according to one of the people. The bank plans to choose a winning bidder next month, the people said. 

The sale also includes RBS' stakes in two non-bank financial institutions in India, the people said. It has a majority stake in one of the companies, both of which conduct little business but would bring buyers a licence to offer certain types of financing, one of the people said.

Representatives for DBS, IDFC Bank and RBS declined to comment. RBS agreed in April to sell its Indian business that finances diamonds and jewellery, including about 45 billion rupees of loans, to Mumbai-based IndusInd Bank .

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'DBS said to be eyeing RBS India'. Print Edition | Subscribe