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March 2, 2001                                       Feedback  

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Tatas open to strategic ally for Net arm

Baburajan K & Anusha Subramanian

Tata Industries Ltd is open to bringing in a strategic partner with a minority stake in its Internet Service Provider company -- Tata Internet Services Ltd (TISL).

However, Tata Internet Services is not planning to go for an initial public offering to raise funds.

"We are keen to bring in a strategic partner, if it fits into our long term strategies. The strategic partner can be from any sector in India or abroad. But the strategic alliance should enable us to expand our business in terms of market reach and growth," said Kishore Chaukar, managing director of Tata Industries.

However, Tata Internet Services has not yet taken any steps in this regard, Chaukar added.

In the next couple of years, the investments for the Internet business will come from internal resources. Tata Industries has earmarked Rs 500 crore for its Internet business.

"We are not keen to acquire any ISP companies in India as we would like to grow our own. However, we have been receiving some good response from ISPs, who want to be acquired.

In the portal business as well, we may not go for acquisitions in a big way as we have already set up a number of portals," Chaukar added.

The ISP firm is promoted by Tata Industries, the holding company of the Tatas in the telecommunication and information technology investments. Tata Internet Services has a category A licence to offer Internet services across the country.

Chaukar says that the company is against taking the ISP company for public listing. TISL is hoping to breakeven in the next 4-5 years, with a turnover of Rs 700 million in the first year of operations.

The company is also planning to make a significant foray into public Internet centres (PICs) by setting up 2000 centres in the next few years.

Source: Business Standard

The Budget 2001-2002 Special

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