The Indian loan market faced new challenges in 2019 as economic growth slumped to the lowest in over six years and corporate investment dried up. Amid falling loan volumes and reduced deal flow Standard Chartered showed leadership with sole mandates, acquisition financings, repeat mandates from high-profile borrowers and successful execution.
“We have focused on delivering diverse financing solutions across all key client segments – financial institutions, corporate and sponsor-backed,” said Sameer Chandra, head of loan syndications for South Asia at Standard Chartered. “Despite the headwinds, we managed to gain market share during the year by monetising some of the key market themes.”
StanChart played top roles on two leveraged buyout loans in October – a US$360m financing for Baring Private Equity Asia’s acquisition of NIIT Technologies and a US$166.3m borrowing supporting Blackstone Group’s purchase of Essel Propack – with both attracting a dozen lenders in syndication.
The bank was MLAB and underwriter on the loan for NIIT Technologies, providing for both majority and minority stake acquisition outcomes, in a first for the Indian market. The loan was increased from US$306m following BPEA’s acquisition of 70% of the target.
StanChart was one of two underwriters on a US$1.1bn take-private financing for London-listed miner Vedanta Resources. Although the loan struggled to attract lenders, StanChart read the market well and underwrote only the shorter tranches. The US$600m three and 18-month portions attracted three lenders, while the joint lead on the US$500m three-year piece could sell down a small portion to one bank.
StanChart was not afraid to take risk where it felt it could add value. It was sole underwriter on several loans from embattled sectors such as financial services and automotive manufacturing.
The bank’s sole mandate and underwrite for Housing Development Finance Corp’s US$200m three-year term loan was successfully sold down to eight other lenders in October. StanChart was also one of three MLABs on Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services’ debut US$175m three-year term loan, which attracted five lenders.
The bank also fully underwrote on a US$1bn loan for Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover unit, a €175m (US$194m) six-year refinancing for Apollo Tyres, a US$115m-equivalent dual-tranche loan for Tata AutoComp Systems’ Swedish subsidiary and a €60m borrowing for Varroc Engineering.
Tata Sons, the holding company of Indian conglomerate Tata Group, also tapped a US$500m four-year loan from eight banks, with StanChart providing a sole underwrite.
The bank also led the US$1.5bn-equivalent portion of a broader US$2.25bn jumbo financing for Reliance Industries. It was one of 15 senior MLABUs on the transaction, which drew in 22 banks in general syndication.