PNB set to start banking operation in Bhutan

PNB set to start banking operation in Bhutan

Kolkata: State-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) is set to open a bank in Bhutan, through a joint venture, and a wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada to boost its overseas business, a top official told reporters.

“Overseas operations constitutes only 2-3% of total business of PNB, whereas for our peers, it accounts for around 20 percent of the total business, Chairman and managing director, K. R. Kamath said on Monday.

“So overseas expansion will remain one of our focus areas in the years to come."

Total business of the bank is around Rs4 trillion, he said.

In Bhutan, PNB will be holding 51% stake in the bank, which will be called Druk PNB Ltd, with an investment of Rs15.5 crore, he said.

“It will be a joint venture between PNB and S. Wangchuk, a member of the royal family of Bhutan with 19% stake. The remaining 30% will be held by the public," Kamath said.

The bank would commence its operations by the end of this month with two branches initially and gradually it will be listed in the local stock exchange, he added.

“Bhutan Government is in the process of developing its stock market and Druk-PNB Bank will be one of the first scripts to be listed there," he said.

In Canada, PNB is looking to start a fully-owned subsidiary, which is expected to be functional by the end of December 2010, Kamath said.

The bank already has in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and has submitted a notice of intention to the Canadian authorities, he said.

“Once we get the no objection certificate from the local authorities, we will be applying for a banking license to the Canadian regulator," he added.

In Kazakhstan, PNB acquired 64% stake in Dana Bank recently, Kamath said. The acquisition formalities would be closed in three months time.

PNB already has a 100% subsidiary in UK, PNB IL and it holds 20% stake in Nepal-based Everest Bank, he said.

“We are also trying to upgrade our representative offices at Norway and Shanghai to branches," he said.

Shares in PNB, ended up 0.08% to Rs900.90 , in the Mumbai market, that shed 0.47%.