Societe Generale (SocGen), the Paris-based financial services giant, which advised Mittal Steel in its bid for Arcelor, is keen to work with Indian companies eyeing global takeovers.
“Indian companies have started to think big after the Mittal takeover. We have received an encouraging response from the clients that we have interacted with over the last few days," the deputy chief executive officer of Societe Generale, Patrick Soulard, who looks after corporate and investment-banking, told Hindustan Times.
Twelve executives from SocGen are currently in India assessing the market. The company has already announced a plan to enter retail banking in the country and has already acquired a 75 per cent stake in Apeejay Finance, which will function as SocGen's consumer credit arm in India.
Soulard said the eastern part of Europe would be a major area for takeover and acquisitions by Indian companies. “We already have a big presence in eastern Europe. We had moved into these markets with the help of acquisitions from 1999-2000 onwards, and now we have a strong presence in these markets," he said.
Though SocGen is looking at doubling its Indian staff over the next two years to 2,000, investment-banking services for Indian companies looking for mergers and acquisitions are likely to be led from overseas.
“This is a global business and our global presence is important. We have a strong investment-banking presence in Singapore and Hong Kong," Soulard said.
Asked whether the company would rename Apeejay Finance in India, Soulard said, “One thing I can say is that it will not be renamed as Societe Generale. Whether we re-brand or not, depends on the 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.”