UAE-based bank Emirates NBD on Monday announced an additional USD 100 million investment in its India operations, and added two more branches in Chennai and Gurugram.
The lender, having the largest presence in the Middle East region, has so far invested USD 300 million in the last five years of its operations in India in three tranches, its group head for international and group strategy, Neeraj Makin, told PTI.
Its country chief executive for India Sharad Agarwal said its current presence is not as a wholly-owned subsidiary, which is preferred by RBI for units of foreign lenders, and added that its focus is on the corporate and trade segment and not the retail side.
Makin said it may add 2-3 more branches, including one in Kolkata, over the next 18 months and will definitely infuse more capital if it happens.
Agarwal said at present, its overall balance sheet stands at Rs 5,500 crore, which includes a loan book of Rs 3,000 crore and investment book of Rs 1,500 crore. By FY24, it is targeting to take the overall balance sheet to USD 1 billion (Rs 8,000 crore), have a loan book of Rs 5,500 crore and Rs 2,500 crore investment book.
On the liabilities front, it depends a lot on the 3.5 million strong Indian diaspora in the UAE and the remittances which originate from there, he noted.
Makin said Emirates NBD is targeting the banking opportunities coming out of the growing trade between India and the UAE, and also along other corridors like India-Saudi Arabia, India-Turkey and other pockets where it has a presence.
Agarwal added that no other lender is willing to take a risk on Turkey at present given the situation in the country due to issues like high inflation, but added that Emirates NBD is supporting Indian exporters.
On the investment operations side, it is presently engaged in commercial paper and is looking at corporate bonds as well, Agrawal said.
Makin said the bank has an acquisitive side, having bought over BNP Paribas’ operations to enter Egypt, but added that there are no such plans for India at present.
Singaporean bank DBS’ acquisition of domestic private sector lender Lakshmi Vilas Bank was “watched with interest” by Emirates NBD, Makin noted.
Emirates NBD has toyed with the idea of operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary — something which DBS did before the acquisition — but has kept away from it because of challenges like mandatory listing and other difficulties, he said.
The bank does not have a captive development centre in India, but has contracted an IT services vendor here to help drive its global operations, Makin said, adding that it has created hundreds of jobs locally.
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