Doha Bank to buy Indian banking operations of HSBC Bank Oman

Qatar-based Doha Bank has inked an agreement to acquire Indian banking business of HSBC Bank Oman SAOG, which is an indirect 51 per cent owned subsidiary of British multinational banking and financial services giant HSBC Holdings plc, according to a statement.

As per the agreement, all staff of India operations of HSBC Bank Oman will be transferred to Doha Bank, chairman of board of Doha Bank, Sheikh Fahad Bin Mohamed Bin Jabor Al Thani, said in the statement.

The business being acquired consists of two branches and had gross assets of Rs 350 crore ($58 million) as on December 31, 2013. The transaction is subject to approvals of regulatory authorities in Qatar, India, Oman and Jersey.

These two branches are separate from HSBC’s own operations in the country. HSBC Oman got control of these two branches as part of a merger of Oman International Bank with its Oman arm a couple of years ago. Oman International Bank had small operations in India which came under the fold of HSBC Oman and has been now divested.

The deal is being seen as Doha Bank’s efforts to strengthen its foothold in the growing Indian market. In December, the bank got licence from Reserve Bank of India to begin banking operations in India.

The bank is expected to open the first branch in Mumbai in May with a workforce of around 50 people, while the second branch could be opened in Kerala.

Initially, the bank will be offering retail and banking solutions in the Indian market and has set a target of $5 billion balance-sheet by the third year of operations in India.

Incorporated in 1978, Doha Bank started its banking business (including its International Banking services) in Doha, Qatar on March 15, 1979. Doha Bank is the largest private commercial bank in the state of Qatar.

The government of Qatar currently owns 16 per cent equity stake in Doha Bank, which has a market capitalisation of $5 billion and an asset of $18.4 billion as on December 2013.

The bank has branches in Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi and representative offices in Singapore, Turkey, Japan, China, Britain, Canada, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea and Sharjah.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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