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Foreign retail brokerage majors eye stakes in Indian cos

business Updated: May 20, 2007 20:18 IST

Attracted by the tremendous potential and phenomenal growth achieved by Indian retail brokerage firms in recent times, a clutch of foreign majors are mulling an entry into the market.

Foreign majors such as the Citigroup, Societe Generale (SocGen), BNP Paribas, Standard & Chartered Bank and Australia-based Macquarie Bank are understood to be contemplating picking up equity stakes in Indian retail brokerages as an easy route to enter the market.

A buoyant stockmarket despite the odd hiccup combined with an increasing appetite for equities among investors, tech convenience of online trading and falling brokerage fees have proved to be the major growth drivers of the industry.

The potential of the Indian market was higlighted recently when nearly 19 suitors stepped forward to claim a stake in leading retail brokerage Sharekhan, amongst the top three such firms in the country.

The Citigroup is understood to have emerged as the frontrunner for picking up the majority stake in Sharekhan, which analysts say could have a valuation of around Rs 650 crore.

The winner will be announced on Monday after the company's Board meet, said Shripal Morakhia, promoter of the company.

"The retail equity brokerage space has been an area of special focus for major players given the huge growth in the business in recent times and its future potential," said Alok Jain, a leading city broker.