To get a toehold in the overseas market, public sector lender Central Bank of India is exploring the possibility of opening branches in Hong Kong and London among others.

“We are looking to set up branches in Hong Kong and in the Middle East and Africa,” Central Bank of India Chairman and Managing Director S Sridhar said.

Besides, the bank is also looking at London and pursue the opportunity once the economic environment improves, Sridhar said. While, in the Middle East Central Bank is considering Bahrain and Dubai, he added.

The bank has got Board approval for overseas foray and is “doing survey and has initiated informal discussion.”

In due course of time, it would also seek Reserve Bank and government nod, Mr. Sridhar said. At present, the Mumbai-based bank does not have any presence overseas.

Outlining the bank’s capital requirement, Mr. Sridhar said he expects to receive Rs 700 crore from the government by the end of this fiscal.

“We got Rs 700 crore hybrid bonds in March 2009, we expect the same amount in the second half of this fiscal,” he said.

From Tier II, the bank has already raised Rs 550 crore, he said, adding, the fund is good enough for meeting business growth during 2009-0.

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