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Deutsche Bank said to shelve $4.6b India portfolio sale

[MUMBAI] Deutsche Bank AG has called off talks to sell its retail and private wealth businesses in India to IndusInd Bank Ltd, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The German lender is considering keeping the operations after former Chief Executive Officer John Cryan stepped down this month, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The two businesses have a portfolio size of about US$4.6 billion, according to one of the people.

Deutsche Bank is now considering increasing its investment in India, another person said. Bloomberg News reported Deutsche Bank's plans to sell the units in January, which was part of a move to focus more on its home market.

If new CEO Christian Sewing - who managed Deutsche Bank's consumer banking operations - does invest more in India, he would be revising a five-year turnaround plan unveiled by Cryan in late 2015. S&P Global Ratings has indicated it may downgrade Deutsche Bank, saying the lender's leadership change may signal a "prolonged, deepened or more costly restructuring" that could weigh on the bank's credit rating.

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Deutsche Bank hasn't made any final decisions on its future India strategy, one of the people said. A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment. A representative for Mumbai-based IndusInd Bank said she couldn't immediately comment.

Asia's No 3 economy is the only country outside Europe where Deutsche Bank has retail operations and more than 12,400 employees.

Income before taxes from the India business stood at 305 million euros (S$495 million) in 2017, putting the country among Deutsche Bank's top four income-generating regions that include Germany and Singapore, exchange filings show. The bank has a credit exposure of about 15.2 billion euros in India, the second highest in Asia Pacific after Japan.

Deutsche Bank, which started its India operations in 1980, has previously divested parts of its business in the country. In 2010 it sold the mortgage business and five years later it offloaded its local asset management unit.

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