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SBI to step operations in Bangladesh and Pakistan

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Feb 24 (UNI) State Bank of India (SBI) has identified a commercial bank in Bangladesh for acquisition as has also approched the authorities for permission to open a branch office in Pakistan.

''We have approached the regulatory authorities to allow us for opening a branch in Pakistan while discussions are going on for taking over a bank in Bangladesh,'' SBI Chairman A K Purwar told mediapersons here.

He said SBI had a presence in Pakistan prior to 1965 and now again ''we wish to open a branch over there.'' ''Among the SAARC region, Pakistan is the only country where SBI has no presence now,'' he said.

In Bangladesh, SBI has identified a bank but Mr Purwar did not wish to reveal the name now.

''We are willing to spend around USD 100 million for acquiring a small or medium sized bank,'' Mr Purwar said.

The country's largest public sector bank had acquired banks in Mauritius, Indonesia and Kenya last year.

This year, SBI has scaled up its aggressive mood in acquisition of small and medium size banks abroad and the funding could be in the range of 100 million dollars for every acquisition.

In fact, for financing the growth of business and expansion, SBI would need to raise a higher capital in the coming fiscal year.

Mr Purwar, in this context, hinted that the bank would issue subordinated bonds in the first quarter of 2006-07 to raise about Rs 2,000 crore from the debt market.

The market borrowings may go up further as the bank is witnessing over 30 per cent growth in credit demand from all segments of the economy.

Mr Purwar felt that the agriculture sector would witness a sharp rise in credit pick-up in the 3-5 years, which would be similar to that of retail credit pick-up in recent years.

UNI GC GK SKB1914

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