Our Bureau

Mumbai, June 29

I-SEC, the merchant-banking arm of ICICI Bank, is setting up shop in Singapore to tap the region's thriving financial market.

ICICI Securities Ltd has spun off a wholly owned subsidiary, ICICI Securities Inc, which has received permission from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to commence operations. Talking to Business Line here today, Mr S. Mukherji, CEO and Managing Director of I-Sec, said this was perhaps the first instance of an Indian merchant banker receiving such permission.

"It will take another two weeks or so before we actually commence operations as both the office location and staff have been identified. Since a number of Indian companies are familiar with the Singapore financial market, and there are about 700 funds operating out of that country, we are excited by the new opportunity," he said.

ICICI Securities Inc has been permitted to act as lead manager and arranger for issue of equity and equity linked instruments (Singapore Depository Receipts and Convertible bonds) by Indian companies. It can also act as an underwriter and provide broking and related services to investors in the secondary market.

"As per the permission, we can target Singapore companies as well. But we will play to our strength and concentrate on Indian companies to begin with. While we can do placements and such broking services, ICICI Securities Inc is not a member of the Singapore stock exchange," Mr Mukherji said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 30, 2005)
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