ANZ makes a re-entry into India, in a completely different avatar
Moneylife Digital Team 16 June 2011

ANZ’s Mumbai branch will initially support corporate and institutional banking clients in India and ANZ’s network clients looking to do business in the market, considering that India has now become Australia’s fourth-largest export destination, driven by rapid economic growth and demand for natural resources

On Thursday, 16th June, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) announced the re-commencement of its banking operations in India with the opening of its first branch in Mumbai. According to a release from ANZ today, the entity will "support trade and investment flows between India and the Asia-Pacific region including Australia and New Zealand, as well as Europe and North America."

In October 2010, ANZ had received approval for a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India, allowing ANZ to establish its branch in Mumbai in 2011.
ANZ, in a different avatar, has been involved with India's banking industry as ANZ Grindlays Bank. In 2000, Standard Chartered Bank—which then wanted a larger share in India's growth story—merged with Standard Chartered Grindlays Bank in 2002, and ANZ Grindlays Bank folded up as an entity in India.

The erstwhile ANZ Grindlays Bank was the largest foreign bank in India for a long period of time-it had 49 branches across the country in 1999. The Indian entity was generating the largest business for ANZ Grindlays Bank after Australia and New Zealand, though profit contribution to the parent's entity was only 9%. However, it made forays into funds management and asset financing.

Its arm, ANZ Investment Bank, had a number of firsts to its credit—it was involved in the divestment of Modern Foods to the erstwhile Hindustan Lever (now Hindustan Unilever); one of the principal arrangers to the $1.80 billion project finance for the second phase of the ill-fated Dabhol Power project and it had a highly skilled management team in place. Through its affiliate (ANZ Grindlays Asset Management Company Pvt Ltd), ANZ Grindlays launched its maiden income fund, Grindlays Super Saver Income Fund, in June 2000.

Today's announcement marks ANZ's return to India—but in a completely different avatar.

According to the release, ANZ's Mumbai branch will initially support corporate and institutional banking clients in India and ANZ's network clients looking to do business in the market.

ANZ India's CEO will be Subhas DeGamia, an old-time ANZ hand—he has over 20 years of experience with ANZ across institutional banking and financial markets, says the release. In the statement, ANZ CEO Asia Pacific, Europe and America Alex Thursby said, "The opening of the Mumbai branch re-establishes ANZ's banking presence in India and is a further milestone in our strategy to become a super regional bank. India is a major engine for global economic growth and its trade, investment and people connections with Asia-Pacific, including ANZ's domestic markets of Australia and New Zealand, are continuing to deepen."

The ANZ statement notes that India has become Australia's fourth-largest export destination, driven by rapid economic growth and demand for natural resources.

The Mumbai branch will provide a full range of forex banking services—including funding and hedging solutions, trade finance, cash and payments, foreign exchange and debt capital markets.

According to Mr Thursby, "The Mumbai branch will build on the strong familiarity that ANZ enjoys in India and the presence of our technology and back office processing centre in Bengaluru which employs approximately 5,000 people."

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