BBVA eyes expansion in China,India,Brazil

MADRID, June 15 - BBVA is looking for medium- to long-term opportunities to expand its foothold in markets in China, India and Brazil, the Spanish bank's chairman said in a newspaper interview.

Spain's second-largest lender has expanded aggressively in recent years to reduce its dependence on Spain, where economic growth is slowing sharply.

Earlier this month, BBVA doubled its stake in mainland China's seventh largest bank CITIC to 10 percent and took an option to buy another 5 percent in the next two years.

"In India or China, you have to think long-term, not in getting there and making money tomorrow," Francisco Gonzalez told El Pais.

"If China develops properly, and I think it will, we will have an excellent opportunity to do good business in China, but that will be in the next 10 to 15 years," he added.

Gonzalez said he was keen to expand BBVA's presence in India, where it currently has one branch.

"Today it is not easy to enter (India) due to restrictions on foreign investment, but there will be a new government in 2009 and perhaps new opportunities," he said.

BBVA expected to return sooner or later to the Brazilian market, where it sold its 5 percent stake in Bradesco last year.

"Of course Brazil is a big country and we have an excellent global banking operation there, so if an opportunity arises, we will take advantage of it," he said.


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