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SBI Caps to set up London office

Our Bureau

Mumbai , April 22

IN its quest to harness international business opportunities, SBI Caps, the investment-banking subsidiary of State Bank of India, plans to commence foreign operations shortly.

The company's board had approved the setting up of an office in London, and is contemplating expanding operations to Singapore, said Mr Indrajit Gupta, Managing Director and CEO, SBI Caps, addressing a press gathering here today.

Enquiries have been pouring in from Indian companies who want to make international acquisitions rather than importplant and machinery.

Not only big players but also mid-cap companies are looking, with the bulk of the interest coming from the pharmaceutical and automobile sectors, he said.

The investment banker is also scouting for a foreign partner to forge a strategic alliance, Mr Gupta said.

Domestically, SBI Caps plans to open offices in the North, North-East and South.

"We are trying to spread our reach both geographically and otherwise, in India and internationally. In India, State Governments are coming up with more and more projects and we want to be a part of that," said Mr Gupta.

The company has recorded a 122 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 63.23 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2003, as against Rs 28.41 crore in the corresponding period, the previous year.

The company's board has declared a dividend of 75 per cent, which is the highest-ever dividend declared by SBI Caps. Last year, the company declared a dividend of 35 per cent.

Going forward, SBI Caps will increase its focus in `Strategic Advisory Services' and also plans to position itself in the securitisation market.

SBI Caps earned a gross income of Rs 142.75 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2004, as against Rs 120.62 crore in the corresponding period the previous year.

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