Dubai: IndusInd International Holdings Limited (IIHL), a holding company controlled by prominent non-resident Indians (NRIs) and headed by billionaire businessman Srichand P. Hinduja is looking to acquire banking assets in key foreign markets, including Gulf countries.

IIHL subsidiary IndusInd Bank, which operates 148 branches in India, is also keen to expand its financial services in markets with significant NRI and Indian-origin populations, Hinduja said. "We have plans to acquire banks wherever licences for new banks are not given," he told Gulf News in an interview.

Hinduja said IIHL will make its presence felt in places such as the UAE, Britain, the US, Hong Kong and Malaysia through "joint ventures, strategic alliances or total acquisitions" of banking assets.

Asked how much money the group has for acquiring overseas assets, Hinduja said IIHL would be willing to "spend billions of dollars."

"There have been discussions in some countries," he added, but declined to provide details citing commercial confidentiality.

The company is also in the process of creating a fund for private equity activities.

"The fund will be in accordance with the Islamic norms. There are many opportunities in small and medium-sized companies in this part of the world and in India," Hinduja said.

Asked why he chose to establish a Sharia-compliant fund, he said it would broaden investor base and allow the company to raise money in the Gulf region.

Hinduja, who is also chairman of Hinduja Group and lives in London, was in Dubai to attend a conference of IIHL, a platform created in 1993 to enable NRIs to mobilise their money and jointly benefit from investment opportunities.

Hinduja Group's Switzerland-based Amas Bank will start operations at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) next month.

The investment bank will employ 18 people in the beginning to provide services such as wealth management, trade finance advisory and corporate advisory services.