Indian two thousand and five hundred rupee banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

GIC-Backed Bandhan Is Said to Select Banks for $780 Million IPO

(Bloomberg) -- Bandhan Bank Ltd., the first Indian microfinance lender to get a banking permit, has picked arrangers for an initial public offering that could raise at least 50 billion rupees ($780 million), people with knowledge of the matter said.

The lender, which is backed by Singapore sovereign fund GIC Pte, chose Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on the share sale, according to the people. Axis Bank Ltd., JM Financial Ltd. and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. are also working on the offering, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. 

Bandhan Bank had a net interest margin of 10.75 percent in the quarter ended June 30, the highest among banks in the South Asian nation, while its bad-loan ratio was 0.82 percent, according to company filings. It was started as a microfinance company in 2001 and converted to a bank in 2015 as India approved new licenses in an effort to tap rural savings and bolster access to credit. 

The Kolkata-based lender aims to sell shares in 2018, according to the people with knowledge of the matter. Investors will be offered about a 10 percent stake in Bandhan Bank through the IPO, the people said.

Details of the offering haven’t been finalized, and the fundraising amount could increase depending on investor demand, the people said. A representative for Bandhan Bank said she couldn’t immediately comment.

Bandhan Bank, led by Chief Executive Officer Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, has 841 branches and more than 11 million customers, its website shows. The lender’s investors include the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. It has a loan book of about 219 billion rupees, according to its website.