Mahindra Satyam Australia plans to make $50-100 million acquisitions

“By 2015, the goal is to have 5,000 employees and the objective is to be a $750-million company,” Venki Prathivadi, Mahindra Satyam head (Australia and New Zealand operations) said

Mahindra Satyam’s Australia unit plans to make acquisitions worth $50-100 million and become a $750-million company by 2015, a media report has said.

“We’re on the lookout for major acquisitions, anywhere from $50 million to $100 million. The treasure trove is reasonably big and Australia is a big market for us on a worldwide basis,” Mahindra Satyam head (Australia and New Zealand operations),  Venki Prathivadi, said in an interview to The Australian.

Earlier this month, the diversified Mahindra Group announced the long-awaited merger of Mahindra Satyam with another of its technology arms, Tech Mahindra, in an all-share deal that would create India’s fifth largest software firm, with estimated annual revenue of about $2.4 billion.

Speaking on the Australia and New Zealand operations, he said, “Our business is one of the most profitable in the Mahindra Satyam group. With the profits that we have generated and the growth standards that we have here, we’re looking for acquisitions in banking and financial services, healthcare, mining.”

The company is also looking at ramping up hiring with special focus on building domain skills, he added.

“Business has never been better, and it has even cracked the lucrative federal government market. By 2015, the goal is to have 5,000 employees and the objective is to be a $750-million company,” Mr Prathivadi said.

“We have doubled in revenues over the last three years and the objective is to double again in the next three years.”

After the merger with Tech Mahindra is completed this year, 80% of the employees would cater to Australian customers — it would have 2,250 staff in Australia and New Zealand.

Despite troubled times, the company added 15 new customers in one year’s time, the report quoted him as saying.

“We’ve set ourselves a goal of finding one new customer every month,” he said, adding, “This is a local target...It’s a goal I set. We’ve been doing very well with existing business, but we had to do this in terms of real recovery. Major customers include Qantas and National Australia Bank.”

Mr Prathivadi said Satyam was working with unnamed Canberra-based companies to deliver services to public-sector users. The company also aims to hire at least 100 people to be based in Canberra.

He said an aversion to using India-based IT outsourcing companies was changing in Canberra, due to the “competitive advantage that we bring”.

Mr Prathivadi claimed that one of Satyam’s strongest weapons was its ability to deliver quality work for 30% less than its rivals and that people with knowledge of SAP, Microsoft and Oracle technologies would be highly sought after by Satyam.

It hopes to dip into a “reasonably big” treasure trove to acquire local companies but not necessarily in the IT space.

In the late afternoon, Mahindra Satyam was trading at around Rs77.20 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 2.22% down from the previous close.


Warburg sells entire 3.6% stake in Kotak Bank for Rs1,400 crore

On 2 February 2012, Warburg sold about 17.5 million shares of the bank through stock market deals, raising about $170 million

Foreign investors continue to cash out their investments in domestic banks and financial institutions. The latest is the overseas private equity investor Warburg Pincus, which exited its 3.6% stake in Kotak Mahindra Bank, raking in about Rs1,400 crore, according to a source.

When contacted, Kotak Mahindra Bank chief financial officer Jainmin Bhatt said that “I know that there was block deal on the NSE today, but who the buyer or the seller can be known only by the end of the day”.

However, market sources confirmed the development and said Kotak Institutional Advisers advised the sale and the average sale price was Rs530 apiece.

This is the second time in as many months that Warburg has sold its stake in the bank. On 2 February 2012, it sold about 17.5 million shares of Kotak Bank through stock market deals, raising about $170 million.

Warbug picked up the stake in the city-based private sector lender in 2004, and today's deal marks its exit.

In the late afternoon, Kotak Mahindra Bank was trading at around Rs535 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.76% up from the previous close.


Public Interest Exclusive
Illegal drug trials: SC asks government to take corrective measures

Indore-based Swasthya Adhikar Manch has alleged that illegal drug trials have been conducted and without the approval of the drug controller. This shows a serious lack of transparency, accountability and monitoring of clinical trials

Hearing a writ petition against the rampant illegal and unethical drug trials conducted in India, the Supreme Court has expressed serious concern over the issue and has asked government to take corrective measures. The bench of justices RM Lodha and HL Gokhale granted further time of six weeks time to Medical Council of India, the Madhya Pradesh government, along with ministry of health and family affairs, to file their reply.

A petition was filed by Indore-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Swasthya Adhikar Manch (SAM), seeking an inquiry into alleged illegal clinical trials of untested drugs in various states of the country on adults, children and even mentally ill persons in this country. It has also stated that there are increasing numbers of deaths occurring during these trials. According to the petitioner some of the trails have been conducted without the approval of the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

While hearing the petition, the bench observed that, “This is very unfortunate. The government of India must take corrective steps.”

“The Union minister of health and family welfare in a recent answer on 13th March to a question in Rajya Sabha pointed out that during the last three years—2009, 2010 and 2011—a total of 1,229 trials were conducted in which 1,743 deaths occurred in and 2,163 deaths in the last five years, as per data collected from the Rajya Sabha and RTI (Right to Information) documents. It was also mentioned that only in 22 cases of death in 2010, the compensation has been paid by sponsors/clinical research organizations,” SAM said in a statement.

The court has also granted SAM time to file a rejoinder affidavit. SAM, in a statement, said that, “The counsel for Swasthya Adhikar Manch, Sanjay Parikh, pointed out that it has been acknowledged by the minister of health and family affairs that illegal trials have been conducted and some of them are even without approval of the DCGI. He also mentioned that no ‘placebo trials’ should be conducted in the country. The judges remarked that the situation is serious and deaths are taking place”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has refused the plea of India Society of Clinical Research (ISCR) wanting to impleaded in the case. The apex court sought information about its legal status for operating in the country.

The NGO in a statement said that, “The Hon’ble judges remarked that the situation is serious and deaths are taking place. On the application for impleadment filed on behalf of ISCR, the Supreme Court sought information about its legal status for operating in the country. The counsel for the petitioner pointed out that contract research organizations outsource and offshore the clinical trials on behalf of the multinational drug companies and ensure one window solutions for getting approval from the DCGI.”

According to SAM, “Not only the most essential principle of inform consent is rampantly violated, but the conflict of interest is clearly visible in these clinical trials. This shows that there is serious lace of transparency, accountability and monitoring (during clinical trial and thereafter) which is resulting in conduct of the clinical trials illegally and at the cost of health and human lives.”


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