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'HSBC keen on insurance foray'

August 21, 2003 15:33 IST

HSBC Holdings plc on Thursday said it was keen to study the opportunities available in the Indian insurance sector, including pension fund. It said in the medium term perspective the operations here have a chance to grow organically and contribute more to the group's performance.

"We will take advantage of the regulatory environment in India; an immediate example is obtaining the licence to operate as a composite insurance broking company," group chief executive of UK-based HSBC Holdings Plc Stephen Green told reporters in Mumbai on Thursday.

On banking operations in India, he said HSBC is present in personal financial services, commercial and corporate segment and expects to grow significantly in these areas, as the market is large and young with good momentum.

The Indian business contributed $70 million (net profit) in fiscal 2002-03 and in absolute terms, "we expect Indian banking operations to contribute more to the group over the next few years," he said.

HSBC can do a lot organically and that would be the core strategy for growth, he added.

But, "we have always taken a view that never say never to acquisitions," Green said.

HSBC India CEO Niall Booker said they would also consider the subsidiary route as and when the regulations change.

Green, referring to the outsourcing business processes, said they have currently 8,000 employees in this sector in India, China and Malaysia. The group also sees an opportunity to do research in India.

HSBC has a software development centre in Pune and another centre is being planned at Vizag.

On the group's acquisition of Household, which has a good marketshare in the US, he said HSBC would now look at strengthening its consumer finance business and enter several markets over the next few years.
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