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HSBC finds returns from India attractive

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Mr Niall S.K. Booker, CEO, HSBC India, at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday. - - Bijoy Ghosh
Mr Niall S.K. Booker, CEO, HSBC India, at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday. - - Bijoy Ghosh

Our Bureau

Chennai, April 7

THE Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation's India operations fetch about 26 per cent return on capital - attractive enough to encourage further investments.

The bank has so far invested about $800 million in India operations and has recently announced its intention to put in another $240 million.

Mr Niall S.K. Booker, Group General Manager and CEO, India, HSBC, told journalists here today that while the size of Indian operations was still small compared to the bank's global scale of business, India was growing very fast.

"The risks of under-investments are high," Mr Booker said. He said that the retail segment, in particular, was growing very fast.

He said that HSBC favoured starting a non-banking finance company (NBFC) for growth. Answering a question, Mr Booker said that the bank considered several options such as acquiring a NBFC and entering into a franchise-arrangement with some NBFCs but decided in favour of starting its own arm.

Mr Booker was here in connection with the announcement of the bank's contribution of Rs 2.5 crore to eight NGOs involved in `tsunami rebuild programme'. The contribution is over and above the Rs 20 lakh the bank donated to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

Answering another question, Mr Booker reiterated HSBC's stand that the investment in the UTI Bank was a financial investment and "we are making good money on it."

Whether or not the bank would be able to raise its stake in the UTI Bank further was a matter under discussion with the RBI, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 8, 2005)
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