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Kotak Mahindra Bank Eyes Local Acquisition

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Aiming to transform itself into a bank of global scale, quality and size, 'ever-young' Indian banking company Kotak Mahindra Bank is looking for acquisition opportunities within India on a top priority basis, its chief Uday Kotak has said.

"We are also seriously looking at opportunities for acquisitions within India and if (we) get something appropriate, it would be top of our priority and this is something we are currently focusing on," Kotak told PTI.

Asked how long he wants Kotak to be known as a 'young' bank and by when it would be counted among big banks, he said: "We want to remain young forever."

"You can be young and big at the same time. We are 25 years old, but still young. We have over 20,000 employees, we are having a market cap of Rs 36,000 crore and (are a) part of the Nifty 50 index, so we are in many ways well positioned and we see the next two years as an opportunity to reach world scale, world quality and world size," he said.

"At Kotak, our aspiration is to build a world-class bank from India, which every Indian should be proud of," he added.

Asked about the timeframe for achieving these targets, Kotak said: "It is an ongoing journey and over the next 5-10 years, I would want to achieve this dream of making India proud."

On the perception about Kotak Mahindra Bank being a small one and no names other than ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank getting a mention during talks about large Indian private sector banks, Kotak said these perceptions would soon change.

"We are certainly trying hard to change the perception.

Our aim has always been to maintain the quality and we never wanted to achieve size at the cost of quality. But now, we are working on a quality of size," he said.

Listing out the growth potential India has in the current economic scenario globally, he said on the sidelines of the just-concluded World Economic Forum here that the Kotak Group itself was finding enormous opportunities in the Indian financial sector.

"We will continue to invest and grow in each segment of our operations, whether it is commercial banking, institutional equities, or any other business. Our equity research entity is ranked two in the country and we are the only Indian entity among the top ten equity research firms in India, the rest nine are foreign," he said.

Besides Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak-led group has a presence in insurance, brokerage, asset management, auto finance, investment banking, equity research and a host of other financial services segments.

Kotak said he is optimistic about 2012 giving India "an opportunity once again to build itself and take benefit of this opportunity, which it seems to have missed in 2011."

Kotak Mahindra Bank has over 329 branches and 782 ATMs across India. It posted a revenue of close to Rs 11,000 crore and profit after tax of more than Rs 1,500 crore in the last financial year.