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Apollo Hospitals BPO arm may sell stake to US firms

Rules out equity investors and looks for partner with domain and market knowledge

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Enterprise Ltd (AHEL) today said that it will may rope in a US-based partner for its BPO arm. The company ruled out an equity investor into the company, whereas it is looking for a partner who has a domain and market knowledge. One potential partner could be Sutherland Global Services.

Speaking at the sidelines of company's Annual General Meeting at Chennai today, Pratap C Reddy, executive chairman, Apollo Hospitals said, “in the next 4-6 weeks, we will have a clear idea. For now we are in talks with two of the major US-based BPO companies."

He said that the company has eliminated some of the proposals, which came for equity investment. “We are not interested in any equity infusion, we want a partner who has the domain knowledge and can bring some value to the company”.

One of the potential buyers could be US-based Sutherland Global Services. Earlier Reddy had said, “they are one of the companies, which has shown interest”.

Meanwhile, Sangita Reddy, one of the four daughters of Pratap Reddy and Executive Director - Operations, who is also responsible for the BPO business said that they had some discussion, but nothing has been finalised. Any decision to divest will be taken over the next six weeks.

Incorporated in 1999, Apollo Health Street is a healthcare BPO which takes up outsourced financial and technology work for big healthcare service providers, helping them to run profitable and efficient operations. It has 12 delivery locations, including four in India. Apollo Hospitals and associates hold about 54 per cent stake, while Temasek Holdings, One Equity Partners and other financial investors have the remaining shares.

The company has around 3,000 employees across the various locations. “The company is a profitable one and last year it reported $15 million EBITDA," said Reddy.

It may be noted, Apollo Health Street (AHS) acquired Zavata Inc, an Atlanta-based BPO and enterprise support (ES) solutions company, for around Rs 700 crore in 2007 and acquired US based Armanti Financial Services, LLC, a hospital billing and receivables management company for $31 million in 2006.

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