French banking major BNP Paribas is keen to push growth of its asset management business in India, which it sees as one of the most promising among the key emerging markets in its portfolio. Amid improving fundamentals, the bank is keen to double the corpus over the next year and a half. It is also looking at strategic buyouts in the space for which it is well capitalized. Ligia Torres, head of Asia-Pacific and emerging markets region at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, said the bank manages Rs 3,500 crore of local mutual-fund assets and sub-advise approximately $500 million of FII money invested in Indian equities. It is now targeting to double the size of these assets in the next 12 to 18 months. She added that BNP Paribas is one of the most capitalized asset managers in India with a net worth of nearly Rs 200 crore. BNP Paribas’ mutual fund business in India had witnessed significant growth after it bought a stake in Sundaram Mutual Fund in 2005. In 2010, BNP’s acquisition of Belgian bank Fortis’ operations gave it control of Fortis’ asset management business in India. Following this, BNP decided to exit the joint venture with Sundaram, selling its stake to the latter.