Friday, September 11, 2009

Infosys set to acquire consulting firm for $200 million

Infosys Technologies Ltd, India’s second-largest provider of computer-services technology, may buy consulting businesses for as much a s $200 million to attract more clients, the finance chief said.

Infosys also may buy similar-sized businesses that process transactions, or information technology companies, Chief Financial Officer V Balakrishnan, 44, said in an interview in New York. The company isn’t in serious discussions with anybody, he said, declining to name potential targets.

“Acquisitions are a lot like love,” he said. “We’re not in love. We haven’t even started dating anybody.”

Infosys, which is projecting it’s first-ever decline in sales this fiscal year, is turning to new services to increase revenue in the worst recession since the 1930s. Building the consulting division will help the Bangalore-based company compete in the US against International Business Machines Corp, the world’s largest computer-services provider.

Infosys will look primarily in the US and Europe for purchases, said Balakrishnan. The company gets almost 90 per cent of its sales from North America and Europe. It aims to more than double domestic revenue to 5 per cent of total sales, he said.

‘Niche’ markets

The company’s American depositary receipts advanced 0.8 per cent to $47.21 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday. The shares have gained 92 per cent this year. Each ADR is equivalent to one ordinary share.

The company plans to invest in “niche” markets, such as health care, Balakrishnan said. Infosys isn’t interested in so- called captive units, processing divisions within a specific company, he said.

Infosys is in talks with five to six clients to buy their technology units, B G Srinivas, a senior vice president who heads the software provider’s operations in Europe, said in June. The company is in discussions with two customers in the US and three to four in Europe, he said at the time.

Sales will range between $4.45 billion and $4.52 billion in the year ending March 31, Infosys said on July 10, marginally increasing the lower end of its annual forecast for at least a 3.1 per cent revenue decline made in April. Infosys won’t be able to predict fiscal 2011 demand until clients complete their budgets in January, Balakrishnan said.

Infosys and top-ranked Tata Consultancy Services Ltd won orders from BP Plc, Europe’s second largest oil company, the Indian software providers said last month, signaling clients may be resuming spending on computer services. Infosys declined to give financial details while Tata Consultancy said it may receive as much as $100 million a year from the BP contract.


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