Essar Group to buy Avayas 59.13% in AGC Networks

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Jun 1 2010, 01:57am hrs
Continuing its acquisition in the IT or business process outsourcing (BPO), Essar Group has agreed to buy 59.13% stake held by Avaya in global business communications firm AGC Networks, erstwhile Avaya GlobalConnect, for $44.5 million (Rs 206.19 crore), or Rs 245 a share, as it strives to boost its outsourcing services. The offer price is 12% lower than AGC's Friday closing price of Rs 278.45 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The acquisition will be done through Essar Services Holdings (ESHL) and will catapult the Essar Group's IT and BPO arm Aegis to among the top five IT solutions providers along with IBM, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services in India. ESHL would come out with a mandatory open offer for an additional 20% stake in AGC, as per Sebi regulations. The open offer for the additional 20% stake would cost Rs 78 crore and is to be announced in three weeks, Essar said on Sunday.

Aegis MD and global CEO Aparup Sengupta said, Essar, in a short span, has become a key player in solutions integrator space and would benefit immensely from the depth and width of expertise AGC Networks has. We have a definitive plan to grow this business as we aim for bigger chunks of customer spends.

Avaya, a global leader in enterprise communications systems, said, The sale of its AGC Networks stake will enable Avaya to drive additional focus on two of its strategic imperatives: the development of the Avaya business in India and the growth and extension of its channel coverage model through Avayas global channel programme, Avaya Connect.

AGC Networks is a converged communication solutions provider focused on the Indian and Australian markets and employs nearly 500. The company had revenues of Rs 515 crore for FY09. For the quarter ended March 2010, the company had a net profit of Rs 9.3 crore, on revenues of Rs 138.48 crore. It is also a leading player in contact centres, unified communications and networking as solutions integrator with a roster of marquee clients and cutting edge products. The current management is expected to continue and spearhead the business post-closing, the company said.

Essar Services Holdings is the group company having investments in Aegis, which is an outsourcing services partner for over 135 clients and with over two decades of experience in total customer lifecycle management.

Aegis has over 39,000 employees across 42 locations in ten countries, serving verticals such as telecom, healthcare, travel and hospitality, consumer goods, retail and technology.

It provides a great synergy with our systems integration business. With this acquisition, we will gain deep expertise in the 'enable' block of experience management that we embarked on through our worldwide expansion drive. Now our customers will have the ability to have unified communication and experience management under one roof, a top Essar official said. Edelweiss Capital advised the company on the transaction and is the manager to the open offer.