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HDFC, Bandhan Bank say report on Gruh Finance deal talk is speculative

India's Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd., Bandhan Bank Ltd. dubbed as "speculation" a CNBC TV18 media report that the companies are in talks over a potential Bandhan Bank acquisition of HDFC subsidiary GRUH Finance Ltd.

In Dec. 21 filings, HDFC and Gruh Finance added that Gruh Finance regularly explores various business opportunities for the sale of its loan assets and other feasible modes of organic and inorganic growth. Bandhan Bank said separately that it evaluates opportunities on a continuous basis and does not comment on market speculation.

HDFC held a 57.86% stake in Gruh Finance as of Sept. 30, according to BSE Ltd. data. Gruh Finance is a housing and rural finance company in India, with a retail network of 195 branches.

In October, Bandhan Bank CEO Chandra Shekhar Ghosh said the bank was considering options, including M&A deals, to comply with the Indian central bank's promoter shareholding rules. This came after the lender was unable to cut the stake of its nonoperative financial holding company to 40% from 82%.