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Dubai, Feb 13: The Bahrain operations of India's leading private bank ICICI has reported a balance sheet size of five billion dollars, five times up from the previous figure.

''The Bahrain branch's balance sheet which stood at 1.6 billion dollars during the last financial year ending March 2006, has now swelled to nearly five billion dollars,'' visiting Deputy Managing Director Chanda Kochhar said.

ICICI Bank, which established its presence in the Kingdom only two-and-a-half years ago, is now set to open more branches and ATMs in the country, she told the Gulf Daily News.

''The balance sheet represents the business booked out of Bahrain, which has emerged as a hub of our activities in the region,''  Kochhar said.

She attributed the growth to ICICI's participation with Indian companies that raise funds abroad, as well as the bank's lending to local markets.

''This trend will continue as India's GDP growth has crossed 9.2 per cent and more Indian companies are lining up to acquire companies abroad. Projects in the pipeline with Indian corporates over the coming three years are estimated at 200 billion dollars,'' she added.

More than 20,000 accounts were opened by non-resident Indians (NRIs) in Bahrain, many of them labourers during the year under consideration.

On ICICI's global operations, Kochhar said the balance sheet stood at 67 billion dollars.

''Our profit last year was about 600 million dollars and this year we expect it to reach 750-800 million dollars,'' she added.


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