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Wednesday, September 22, 1999 Published at 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK

World: South Asia

Indian company hits Wall Street

The first Indian company to be listed on the NYSE

By Sanjiv Srivastava in Bombay

One of India's leading financial institutions, Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation (ICICI) has become the first Indian company to list its shares on the New York stock exchange.

The company will be only the second financial institution from Asia, after the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, to be listed on the New York exchange.

It signals the increasing globalisation of India's economy and the growing respect for the country's shares abroad.

Live telecast

It was a big day for India's economy and the management of ICICI pulled out all stops to make a splash on the occasion.

The BBC's Sanjiv Srivastava in Bombay: Indian economic recovery underway
The listing of the $315m American Depository Receipts (ADR) issue was conducted in a half-hour breakfast ceremony in New York and was telecast live in India.

While the price of the ADR will be decided only at the time of the listing, analysts expect it to be listed at around $9.5 - a premium of about 5% to the ICICI share value on Indian exchanges.

According to market observers, the ICICI issue is only the beginning of Indian companies' efforts to tap the Western markets.

The biggest Indian private sector company, Reliance Industries, is also likely to follow the ICICI example in a few months.

Growing interest

There is a reason for this sudden rush for listing on the US stock exchanges by Indian companies.

The exposure not only allows them to raise additional funds, but also gives them a global image and provides new markets for their products.

A prime example of the success of Indian issues abroad is the Indian software company, Infosys.

Its ADR has appreciated nearly four times since April this year when it was listed on the US technology company's exchange, Nasdaq.

In recent months, the Indian economy has shown signs of turning the corner after a three-year slowdown.

Analysts say the success of Indian shares abroad also reflects a more optimistic perception of the country's economy in Western markets.

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