MUMBAI, April 23 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley (MS.N) will start a private equity unit in India, where it already runs an investment bank and an asset management firm, the U.S. firm said on Wednesday.
The unit, to be launched on May 1, will be headed by Aluri Srinivasa Rao who has joined from ICICI Venture, a unit of India's No. 2 lender, ICICI Bank (ICBK.BO), Morgan Stanley said in a statement.
"Private equity will form a critical component of our India platform," said Narayan Ramachandran, managing director and country head of Morgan Stanley in India.
Global financial firms and domestic banks are expanding into private equity in India where a rapidly growing economy has opened up big opportunities.
Government-run State Bank of India (SBI.BO), India's biggest lender, said on Wednesday it was in talks with foreign partners to launch private equity funds.
Morgan Stanley said it would invest in India through its Asia-dedicated private equity fund. The $1.5 billion fund closed in the third quarter of 2007. (Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by Ranjit Gangadharan)