London, May 4 (UNI) Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has inaugurated a branch of the ICICI Bank UK Ltd at Antwerp in Begium's diamond district, initiating the bank's foray into Mainland Europe.
Speaking at the inauguration Mr Verhofstadt said, ''Within just a few years Asia, and in particular India, has successfully shifted the focus of the world economy towards the East. Some apprehend this as a threat but I prefer to look at it as an opportunity''.
''The step taken by India's second largest bank of opening a branch here shows that Belgium is adjusting to the new reality.
Thanks to appropriate reforms and the resilience of our business community, my country is strengthening its position as a gateway to Europe'' he added.
Highlighting his government's efforts to create conditions that attract foreign investment, Mr Verhofstadt pointed out,'' Antwerp is the world's leading diamond centre, an asset we are determined to preserve and further develop. I am convinced that ICICI Bank has made the right choice.'' ICICI Bank UK Limited is a locally incorporated UK bank with an asset base more than 2 billion Dollars as on March 31, 2006. It is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority and was set up in November 2003 as a wholly owned subsidiary of ICICI Bank Limited, India's second largest bank. It currently has a network of branches in UK. The new branch in Antwerp promises to offer corporate banking products.
Managing Director&CEO, ICICI Bank UK Ltd, Sonjoy Chatterjee said ''ICICI Bank is delighted with the positive response and encouragement from the business community in Antwerp. ICICI Bank UK has been a major facilitator for Indian corporate investments with India now emerging as one of the largest foreign investors in UK. We hope to realise the same potential for Indian investment into Belgium.'' UNI XC ARB HS1745