Satyam buyer may emerge by Feb end

A buyer for Satyam may emerge by the end of February,board member Deepak Parekh said.

Written by Reuters | New Delhi | Published: February 18, 2009 3:21:55 pm

A buyer for fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services may emerge by the end of February,a board member said,while the government sought the removal of boards of two companies linked to Satyam’s founder.

Satyam’s government-appointed board will meet on Saturday to discuss client and staff issues,board member and veteran banker Deepak Parekh said in New Delhi.

Asked by reporters whether he saw any buyer coming forward for Satyam,he said: “Yes. By the end of this month.”

Later,he said the board would meet with its investment bankers,Goldman Sachs and Avendus,on Friday and Saturday,to discuss options.

“The idea is to move fast,” he told a TV channel.

Potential suitors to have declared an interest include engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro,Spice Group and Hinduja Group.

Satyam said last week it would accelerate plans to find a suitor after the market regulator amended takeover rules.

Chairman Kiran Karnik said last Friday he expected there would be many interested parties when the board announced its bidding process. Karnik has also said the sale process could get underway before Satyam’s accounts were restated.

Satyam has been battling for survival since Jan. 7 when its founder Ramalinga Raju quit as chairman and said profits had been overstated for years and assets had been falsified.

MAYTAS

Corporate Affairs Minister P.C. Gupta said the government would ask the Company Law Board to remove the directors of two firms linked to Raju,Maytas Infra Ltd and Maytas Properties Ltd.

“On the basis of the information available,the government finds a strong possibility of the affairs of Maytas Infra Ltd and Maytas Properties Ltd having being conducted by its present management with fraudulent intent,” Gupta told reporters.

He said the government was seeking the removal of directors “to prevent further acts of fraud”.

In mid-December,Satyam announced plans to buy the two Maytas firms,but backed down quickly in the face of an investor revolt.

In his resignation letter,Raju said the deal to buy the Maytas firms was his last attempt to resolve the problem of fictitious assets on the Satyam balance sheet. Maytas is Satyam spelt backwards.

LEANER MANAGEMENT

The outsourcing firm is looking at trimming the number of its senior managers,a spokeswoman said on Tuesday,but she declined to put a timeframe on the process.

“Two managers have gone. We do not have a number but it is likely more will go,” she said. “It is part of a rationalisation of the organisation structure.”

The two officials who have quit are Subu D Subramanian,global head of manufacturing and automotives division,and Anil Kumar,a senior vice-president at Satyam’s financial services division,she said.

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