PNB bullish on overseas operations

Written by fe Bureaus | Kolkata | Updated: Jan 27 2010, 03:19am hrs
Punjab National Bank is foraying into Bhutan this week through a joint venture. It has also applied with the regulatory authority in the Canadian city of Vancouver for a wholly-owned subsidiary there.

PNBs Bhutan JV, Druk-PNB, the first joint venture bank in the country, will have a soft launch on January 27, while it will be formally launched on February 2. It received the licence to start operations last week after Royal Monetary Authority completed inspection. The JV received in principle licence last December.

Punjab National Bank (PNB), which owns 51% in the JV, has invested Rs 15.5 crore. Local promoters will hold 19% in the JV and the rest will be offered to the public in February.

Meanwhile, the bank has also applied for opening a wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada.

Talking to reporters in Kolkata, KR Kamath, chairman & managing director, said, We have given 60 days notice to the regulatory authority there for opening a subsidiary. We expect that the subsidiary will be operational by December this year.

Kamath said almost 3% of the banks business is contributed by the overseas operations. The total business of the state-owned lender crossed Rs 4,00,000 crore as on December 31, 2009 . It registered business of over $2 billion in the overseas operations last year.

The bank is also looking at the possibility of starting its overseas operations in Norway, Dubai, Shanghai and Singapore in future.

While it has received approval from the Reserve Bank of India for the upgradation of the banks Shanghai representative office to a branch, it has also applied for a full-fledged branch in Norway. PNB will also start operating in Kazakhstan from March this year. In a bid to expand its base in Central Asia, PNB is taking up 64% stake in a bank in Kazakhstan.