Money & Banking

Selling Grindlays in India was a mistake: ANZ chief

PTI Melbourne | Updated on November 17, 2017 Published on August 15, 2012

Describing India as a country with vast economic potential, Australia and New Zealand Banking CEO Mike Smith has called the sale of its unit Grindlays in India in 2000 as a ‘big mistake’

“I think I have been quite open in telling that sale of Grindlays bank was a big mistake, a strategic mistake for ANZ,” Smith told PTI at Australia India Business Council — Victoria meet held last night.

ANZ, which had wound up India operations in 2000 after selling its Grindlays Bank unit to Standard Chartered for $1.34 billion, has opened a new branch in Mumbai last year.

Smith said India was one of the ANZ’s priority markets even after the sale of the Grindlay business there.

“We have to start again. We will obviously invest more and build our business there. But at the same time we see to maintain the presence in India with our operations in IT hub.

ANZ employed 5,000 people in Bangalore, delivering IT and back-office support for companies in 32 countries,” Smith said.

“We have a long history with India and we have not exited the country,” he added.

ANZ plans to focus on opening subsidiaries because that seems to be the global pattern.

Commenting on the Australia India Institute report which criticised Australian Business houses including ANZ for lacking the staying power in India, Smith said, “I can understand the criticism. If you look at number of historical events, you could probably say that’s probably justified.”

However, he added, there were many successful stories as well and there would always be two sides — those who will make it and some who will not.

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Published on August 15, 2012
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