Franklin Templeton Investments is to acquire full control of its India joint venture for an undisclosed sum.

The firm's announcement stated that ôsubject to regulatory approvals and execution of a formal agreementö, it will buy the 25% stake held by Hathaway Investments. Hathaway is part of the Rajan Raheja group of companies and has been the Indian partner in Franklin Templeton Asset Management (India) since it started operating in the country.

Vijay Advani, executive vice president of Franklin Resources says: ôThe full acquisition of our Indian asset management arm reinforces Franklin TempletonÆs long-term commitment to India, a journey that started back in 1995.ö

The first fund launched by Franklin Templeton in India in September 1996 was the Templeton India Growth Fund. Since then it has regularly launched new offerings. In July 2002, Franklin Resources acquired Pioneer ITI in India. The new combined entity was one of the largest mutual fund houses in India, with a presence in all major Indian cities. Currently, it has offices in 33 locations across India and collection centres in another 45 locations. It manages assets of Rs239 billion ($5.3 billion) for around 1.9 million investors as of October 31, 2006.

Vivek Kudva, president of Franklin Templeton Asset Management in (India) said: ôWe are very excited about the tremendous growth potential for our business moving forward.ö Asset management companies are generally quite bullish on the India opportunity as retail investors have a low portion of their savings in mutual funds compared to developed countries.