The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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SRF logs out of infotech

New Delhi, Dec. 10: At a time when everyone is gung-ho over business process outsourcing (BPO), SRF has taken a contrarian view and decided to jettison the business.

The company has decided to sell its IT venture and focus on its core business of industrial synthetics, chemicals and industrial fabrics.

Four years ago, SRF was equally bullish about the prospects for the BPO business. Its website said: “Looking to outsource your Business Processes to boost your bottom line. SRF — is the company that can to deliver high quality, cost effective, timely solutions to overseas customers.”

SRF has since made a turnabout.

At a meeting held on Tuesday, SRF’s board of directors unanimously decided to put its IT business on the block as it wanted to focus on its core business to meet competition in the market.

“We have decided to get out of the IT business which was primarily a BPO venture. It needed a huge investment and we felt that such an amount cannot be allocated for this venture since other businesses need more attention,” Arun Bharat Ram, vice-chairman and senior managing director of SRF Ltd, told The Telegraph.

“We are in advanced stage of negotiations with a company in the BPO business and it will absorb employees with the venture,” said Bharat Ram.

In October last year, the board had approved a proposal to invest up to Rs 15 crore in information technology based businesses in India or abroad.

Eventually only a total of Rs 8 crore was invested in the BPO operations which has 40 employees. Sources said that a few employees have already left on their own and a few had been asked to leave. The company now has 32 employees.

A senior SRF executive, Vinod Kala, who is responsible for mergers and acquisitions, said, “We have not asked any one to leave. We are in advanced stage of negotiations with a few Indian companies in BPO services. Under the confidentiality clause, we cannot reveal the total number of employees or details of the negotiations. The deal will be completed in the current financial year.”

SRF Infotel had planned to leverage its business management expertise, process orientation and total quality management capabilities, combined with its IT skills, to offer high quality BPO services to international clients. However, its dream to rake in moolah from the venture hit a road block with not many business clients using its BPO.

SRF Infotel solicited consulting service from PricewaterhouseCoopers to help it identify the best focus areas within BPO.

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