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SBI is focussed on overseas acquistions: Purwar

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Mar 25 (UNI) India's premier banking major, State Bank of India (SBI) is open to domestic acquisitions but ''presently our focus is on overseas acquisitions'', chairman and managing director A K Purwar said here today.

Speaking to journalists, he said two overseas acquisitions in Kenya and Indonesia ''can happen any time now,'' adding the bank's foreign banking operations are on track.

Mr Purwar said the bank would offload some of its stake in its associate banks ''through a public issue'' two or three months after Parliament passed the SBI Subsidiaries Act. '' This will help unlock the immense value inherent in our associate banks,'' he said, adding that the move would help augment capital for the banks.

Asserting that the performance of its fully-networked seven associate banks is excellent, Mr Purwar said all of them are functioning on core banking solutions.

''Their gross NPAs are less than three per cent and net NPAs less than one per cent,'' he pointed out, adding that the offloading of stakes in the associate banks would support their asset growth in the future.

He said the associate banks, if merged, would emerge as the second largest bank in the country but a decision on a merger is still some time away.

Indicating that the liquidity squeeze had somewhat lightened in the last two-three days, Mr Purwar, said an upward bias ''is still visible in interest rates.'' UNI JJ SA SKB1911

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