Barclays builds Asia business, grows in India and Australia

SINGAPORE, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Barclays (BARC.L), which has recently made significant investments in India and Australia and launched a Taiwan unit in July, is evaluating entering new markets, but is currently Focused on building its franchises, regional executives said.

The British bank has been rebuilding its Asian operations following a global restructuring in 2016, which hit its operations in the region hard, leading to job cuts, exits from many markets and the closure of its Asian cash equities unit.

“We are very busy at the moment. The macroeconomic environment is not really conducive to active investing at the moment,” Jaideep Khanna, head of Barclays Asia Pacific, told Reuters in an interview.

“Have we finished investing and building the platform? Absolutely not. So, what is forcing us into Australia and Taiwan, may require us to enter new markets in the future, but I don’t think that will happen in 2023,” Khanna said.

The bank, which primarily serves corporate and institutional clients in Asia, has hired about a dozen senior executives over the past two years to strengthen its investment banking, markets and private banking businesses.

“The company’s stance is that Asia presents an opportunity. As a business within the Barclays framework, we have added value to the company and delivered over the past three years,” said Mumbai, who is also Barclays India CEO. Khanna said.

While Barclays’ corporate and investment bank was the smallest in Asia of the 12 global banks in the six months to June, its revenue rose the most at 28%, Barclays said, citing data from industry tracker Greenwich Alliance. .

Khanna, who is in Singapore for Barclays’ flagship Asia forum, sees room for the bank to expand further in Australia and India, helped by its recent investments and relatively strong deal prospects in those countries.

“India has been serving the region and Barclays in the region very strongly,” he said, highlighting the bank’s record investment banking presence in the country.

“India Opportunity”

M&A transactions in India are likely to slow for a few quarters before rebounding, supported by expansion plans by conglomerates, an infrastructure push by the government and activity to acquire companies, Khanna said.

“People are very confident about India’s chances,” he added.

India’s economy grew 13.5% in April-June, the fastest pace in a year.

This year, Barclays was one of three lead underwriters on Indian conglomerate Adani Group’s multibillion-dollar takeover of Holcim’s (HOLN.S) cement business.

Khanna is the regional chief executive of the only global bank headquartered in India, joining Barclays in 2001 and taking the role in 2017.

Last year, Barclays said it would invest more than $400 million in its India unit. The country is also home to the Barclays Global Service Centre, which employs more than 21,000 people – its second-largest workforce outside the UK.

In Australia, Khanna said Barclays would deepen its partnership with investment banking boutique Barrenjoey Capital Partners, which has nearly doubled its stake to 18.2 percent this year.

“Obviously if they build a fixed income business, there is more work to do, and if the cross-border market comes back, we have a bigger opportunity in the equities business.”

Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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