ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 2 A $13 billion
takeover by Russian oil major Rosneft of India's Essar
Oil should close this month after delays caused by debts to
Indian lenders, the head of State Bank of India (SBI) said on
Friday, adding she had "more or less" approved the deal.
"There is a very real possibility this deal will close
shortly and we expect to see this happening very soon,"
Arundhati Bhattacharya, the chairman of India's largest bank by
assets told Reuters on the sidelines of the St
Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Asked to qualify the timing, Bhattacharya said: "This month,
Russian state oil firm Rosneft has struggled to close the
acquisition because of debts owed by Essar to several Indian
banks. Rosneft had wanted to finalise the deal in early June at
the St Petersburg forum, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra
Modi is attending.
Bhattacharya said SBI had "more or less" approved the
takeover but a few things still needed to be straightened out.
"There are a few small issues that are still getting
resolved, for instance, some of the exposures we had to other
units (of Essar) and resolution of things such as certain
securities we hold, but small ones," Bhattacharya said, adding
she had been in contact with the Ruia family which owns Essar.
"A set of conditions have been given by the lenders and
(Ruias) are trying to fulfil those conditions as quickly as
possible to get the deal done," she added, declining to quantify
SBI's exposure to the company.
(Reporting by Sujata Rao; Editing by Jack Stubbs)