JP Morgan to boost India presence

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 24 March 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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HONGKONG: As India's companies restructure their balance sheets and start thinking of themselves as global players, JP Morgan is expanding its operations there as IPO and privatisation activity heats up.

"Here's a country that will show massive growth," co-head of investment banking in Asia Pacific, Sean Wallace told Reuters in an interview.

"We believe India will continue to have growing importance in the world economy, and we are working with clients to raise capital and create strategies that will allow them to participate in this growth," he said.

JP Morgan aimed to significantly increase its investment banking group in India across all product lines, Wallace said.

Incomes in India are rising as its middle class of more than 300 million swells, and a privatisation program is meeting with success. The country's economy is Asia's third largest and was forecast to have grown more than eight per cent in the year ending March 2004.

China's booming economy and accompanying $23 billion in expected overseas stock listings has grabbed world headlines as investors clamor for a piece of its growth.

But India is becoming a key focus for banks such as JP Morgan, which has 23 offices in 15 Asian countries.

"You don't have to guess if this is the year China's hot or India's hot, because you have people on the ground that are talking to clients all the time," said co-head of Asia Pacific investment banking, Todd Marin.

India has become attractive due to the emergence of companies formerly viewed as troubled, particularly in the basic manufacturing sector, the bankers said.

"There has been a substantial transformation where companies that were once protected are now being recognized as world class competitors," Wallace said.

JP Morgan has jumped to number four in Indian debt capital markets rankings so far this year, up from 25 in 2003, according to market research firm Dealogic. It was the top equity underwriter in 2003 and number 13 in M&A advisory last year.

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