Mumbai: The third largest American bank JPMorgan Chase and Co., plans to double private equity (PE) investments in India to $1 billion (Rs4,630 crore) as the country’s equities head for the worst year on record.

The bank will also invest about $500 million to build its corporate finance and advisory operations, Kalpana Morparia, who took over as chief executive of JPMorgan in India on 28 August, said in an interview in Mumbai on Wednesday.

PE investments in India climbed 3.2% in the first six months of the year, bucking a 23% decline for all of Asia. JPMorgan has recorded about a quarter of the losses posted by Citigroup Inc., its bigger rival, after the US home loan market collapsed.

“Just given the state of public markets, there are opportunities for placements," Morparia said. “When public markets don’t open up, they do placements."

PE investments in India climbed to almost $6.8 billion in the first half, surpassing the $5.8 billion invested in China, according to Hong Kong-based Asian Venture Capital Journal.

PE investments in India in the first eight months of this year is at $8.6 billion, up from $8.4 billion a year ago, according to Venture Intelligence, a company that tracks such investments.

JPMorgan’s PE unit has so far invested in Larsen and Toubro Infrastructure Development Projects Ltd, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd and Cafe Coffee Day, among others, according to Chennai-based Venture Intelligence.

JPMorgan will expand operations in the country to five branches from one if the central bank gives permission, Morparia said.

The Reserve Bank of India limits the number of branches an overseas bank may open in a year and curbs their holdings in local lenders.

Some of these rules are scheduled to be reviewed in April.

“Banking has been quite conservative here," said Morparia, who had previously worked for 33 years at ICICI Bank Ltd.