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Wednesday, Jun 30, 2004

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ABN-Amro launches asset management co

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Mr Romesh Sobti (left), Executive Vice-President and Country Representative (India), ABN-Amro Bank, with Mr Huibert Boumeester, Global Chief Executive Officer of ABN-Amro Asset Management, at the launch of its mutual fund business in Mumbai on Tuesday. — Paul Noronha

Mumbai , June 29

ABN-Amro has launched its asset management company in India, ABN-Amro Asset Management (India) Ltd.

The fund house has applied to the Securities and Exchange Board of India for clearance on the offer documents for its five funds - Equity Fund, Monthly Income Plan, Dynamic Debt Fund, Floating Rate Fund and Cash Fund. These funds are expected to have their initial public offer by the end of July, according to Mr Nikhil Johri, ABN-Amro Asset Management (India).

ABN-Amro has mutual fund operations across 25 countries and assets under management of $200 billion as on March 31, 2004. Of this, $18 billion are invested in the emerging markets.

The AMC currently has 20 employees and five branches and seeks to grow to 35 employees and 10 branches in a year, said Mr Johri. The funds would be sold through third party distributor tie-ups and the bank's offices.

To invest 1-b euro in Indian acquisitions

Meanwhile, the Dutch banking major ABN-Amro Bank N.V has proposed to invest as much as 1 billion euro into banking operations in India.

"The money committed by the Group's CEO will go solely into the bank here. It will be utilised for conversion into a subsidiary model and for acquisitions," said Mr Romesh Sobti, Executive Vice-President and Country Representative (India), ABN-Amro Bank N.V, at the sidelines of a press conference held here on Tuesday to launch the group's foray into the asset management business in India.

Since the conversion into a subsidiary is not expected to translate into higher costs the kitty appears to be primarily for acquisitions. Meanwhile, rumours are abuzz that a foreign strategic player is set to pick up stake in HDFC Bank.

ABN-Amro Bank's Group Chairman had earlier in the month said that the investment would be made for organic growth and also for selective acquisitions. The 1-billion euro, according to him, is to be used to build its franchise and enhance its brand name.

The bank, which is soon to announce its annual results for the financial year 2004, has a balance sheet size of Rs 10,000 crore. The bank has applied to the Reserve Bank of India for conversion of its branch set up into a subsidiary so that it can operate like a local company.

For the group, North America, Greater China and India pose great opportunities for growth.

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