Mumbai: French Bank BNP Paribas SA will continue holding its stake in Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services Ltd, even after its acquisition of retail-focused brokerage Sharekhan, a top official said.

“It’s a large country, with a very deep market in savings, mutual funds, retail brokerages and so on," said Thierry Laborde, deputy chief operating officer-head of domestic markets at BNP Paribas. “We will continue in this way," Laborde said, referring to the bank’s investments in Geojit BNP Paribas and Sharekhan.

Geojit BNP Paribas shares rose after Laborde’s statement, closing 4.8% higher at Rs36.80 on BSE.

Beatrice Cossa-Dumurgier, global head of BNP Paribas Personal Investors, added that two executives of the French bank stepped down from the board of Geojit BNP Paribas, when the deal with Sharekhan was closed in November.

As at 30 September, BNP Paribas SA held a 32.60% stake in Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services Ltd, while BNP Paribas India Holding Pvt. Ltd held 0.80% stake, data from BSE showed.

After receiving all approvals, BNP Paribas of France completed the acquisition of Sharekhan in November.

Sharekhan is now a fully-owned unit of BNP Paribas and will join Personal Investors, BNP Paribas’ business line dedicated to digital banking and investment services.

Sharekhan aims to double its customer base from the current 1.4 million over five years, and targets to be one of the top 15 mutual fund distributors in the country, Jaideep Arora, CEO of Sharekhan said.

Dumurgier said BNP Paribas plans to spend around €70 million up to 2020 to support Sharekhan’s growth and initiatives.

In July 2015, the French bank had said it had agreed to acquire Sharekhan after nearly six months of negotiations between existing investors and bidders, including bulge bracket private equity (PE) firms Warburg Pincus Llc and General Atlantic Llc, which bid together.

Sharekhan was founded in 2000 by Mumbai-based entrepreneur Shripal Morakhia, whose family was in the equity broking business for decades.

Till March 2007, the Morakhia family owned a 43.58% stake in the brokerage. Over the years, this holding was sold to PE investors.

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