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ICICI Bank plans to spread its wings overseas

By Religare
ICICI Bank plans to spread its wings overseas
India's largest private sector lender ICICI Bank is planning expansion of its branch network in foreign countries like Australia, South Africa and Mauritius, and opening of full-fledged branch in China, said managing director and CEO, Chanda Kochhar said during the bank's 19th annual general meeting (AGM).

"Under the bank's foreign expansion plans, we will open branches in Australia, South Africa and Mauritius. We have sought Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s clearance and the same is awaited," said Kochhar addressing the shareholders in Vadodara on Monday.

"We already have a representative office in China, where we will open a full-fledged branch," she said.

ICICI Bank boasts of largest number of foreign branches among private sector banks in India. It also has three subsidiaries and eight representative offices located in different countries.

Kochhar said ICICI Bank also plans to expand in unbanked rural areas of India. She said that "We will open 350 new branches in India. About 200 of these will be in non-banked areas. The pace of branch network expansion will be much faster over the next three years."

About the economic condition and power sector woes, Kochhar said "Our exposure to the power sector is less than seven per cent of our total exposure, and over half of it is to companies already operational and generating cash flows."

Kochhar said despite rupee's volatility, ICICI Bank will raise USD 510 million by selling bonds to institutional investors in Japan. "Even in the most volatile conditions, we have raised funds from the Chinese markets. We always look for a window of opportunity, where liquidity is available at the appropriate cost. We go ahead and raise those funds."

Shareholders appreciated the performance of ICICI Bank's management which helped weather all the storms during global financial crisis and also demanded elevation for Chanda Kochhar to vice-chair of the bank.


The bank also said every employee would contribute a day's salary towards a relief fund for those affected in the Uttarakhand floods. "The bank will match that amount and the total fund will not be less than Rs 5 crore," said Chanda Kochhar.

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