Societe Generale (SocGen), the Paris based financial services giant, that advised Mittal Steel in its bid for Arcelor, is keen to work with other Indian companies eyeing global takeovers.
Deputy chief executive officer of Societe Generale, Patrick Soulard, who looks after corporate and investment banking, says "We were advisors to Mittal Steel for the Arcelor deal. This deal has created a mood for takeovers in India."
Twelve members of the SocGen are currently in India assessing the market. It has already announced the plan to enter retail banking in India. SocGen has already acquired a 75 per cent stake in Apeejay Finance, which will be its consumer credit arm in India.
Soulard said "Indian companies have started to think big after the Mittal takeover. We have received encouraging response from the clients that we have interacted with over the last few days."
He added that the eastern part of Europe will be a major area for takeover and acquisitions by Indian companies. Soulard said, "We already have a big presence in eastern Europe. We had moved into these markets with the help of acquisitions in 1999-2000 onwards and now we have a strong presence in these markets."
Soulard said that though SocGen is looking at doubling its Indian manpower over the next two years from 1,000 to 2,000 the investment banking services for Indian companies for mergers and acquisitions are likely to be led from overseas.
He said, "This is a global business and our global presence is important. We have a strong investment banking presence in Singapore and Hong Kong."
Soulard felt that the Indian market has been always very important for SocGen and the group has a presence across businesses in India.
Asked on whether the company may change the name of Apeejay Finance in India, Soulard said, "Well one thing I can say is that it will not be renamed Societe Generale. Whether we re-brand it depends on people who run the business. Consumer retail credit is a very local business, so there is no immediate need to use the Societe Generale brand."