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Sunday 09th of January 2011
March 14, 2008    

HSBC keen on Indian acquisitions

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by Kay Murchie

Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC, has announced it wants a ‘substantially bigger footprint’ in India and is continuing to look at acquisition opportunities.

Head of HSBC’s Asian business, Sandy Flockhart, said that regulators have restricted its ability to make acquisitions in many countries.

We would like to be considerably larger in India and when regulators allow, hopefully in 2009, the opportunity will arise, added Mr Flockhart.

Being one of India’s top 4 banks would be a good place to be, continued Mr Flockhart.

HSBC is looking to increase its presence in Asia and other emerging markets as growth in those countries is expected to surpass western economies this year and beyond. In spite of bad debts increasing to $17 billion in 2007 after hits from its US subprime housing exposure, could see it take advantage of opportunities for distressed or low valued assets.

The credit squeeze and the US housing crisis has, to date, had a more modest impact on Asia’s economic growth than elsewhere, helped by less reliance there on US exports than in the past and more inter-regional trading, but the area is not immune to the problems.

Mr Flockhart said if the US. has a more prolonged slowdown then there’s going to be a knock-on effect into Asia. However, the scale of impact would be hard to gauge before mid-year.

HSBC is also looking to expand in Africa but on a gradual basis by opening branches to get to know the countries, continued Mr Flockhart.

HSBC operates in over 80 countries throughout the world.

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