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FT open for a strategic partner

Jignesh Shah says firm will consider proposal if situation demands

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

Jignesh Shah
Jignesh Shah

Financial Technologies (India), which has been in the for a potential buyout, said on Friday that it was open for a strategic partner. The company, which is the main promoter of scam-hit National Spot Exchange (NSEL), also said that by the end of the year, it would become debt-free, with the worst behind it.

Responding to a question of a shareholder at the company’s 25th annual general meeting (AGM) as to whether FTIL was in talks with Tech Mahindra or others for a stake stale, Jignesh Shah, FTIL founder and group chairman, said, “I don’t want to say any specific names. We don’t need money, but if someone who takes the company to a high-growth phase and has got new-generation technology, we are open for it”.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the AGM, Shah said, “It is a guiding principle, it’s not that we have to do something right now. We will consider if such a situation comes”. To a question whether any companies had shown interest, he said, “All the time some companies have been showing interest”. “This year, we will consolidate, create a base and then we will grow. If we get a strategic partner, we will think over it”.

He added, “When such an episode and accidents happen, one should be a part of revival.” On FTIL’s future, he said, as a group the worst was behind it in the NSEL case. He said when the auction would start, NSEL would be happy.

For now, 77 per cent of assets, against receivables of around Rs 4,268 crore, are attached and the economic offences wing of the Mumbai police investigating the NSEL scam has said after Diwali the attached properties will be auctioned.

Asked whether the promoters were planning to dilute stake, he said, “In these moments we have to stand and have to sail through”. The promoters currently hold around 40 per cent in FTIL.

The way forward for FTIL would be more and more on the technology side as innovation would be key, Shah said, adding that a few more IPRs were in the pipeline.

He also said FTIL would become a debt-free company this year. FTIL currently has $66 million outstanding and it hopes it will get rid of that once the ICE money comes into the company. At the end of 2013, Financial Technologies Singapore Pte Ltd, (FTSPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of FTIL, had announced the sale of 100 per cent of its Singapore Mercantile Exchange Pte Ltd (SMX) to ICE Singapore Holdings Pte for $150 million (around Rs 930 crore).

“We have applied for the Reserve Bank of India's clearance; it should come any time soon,” said Shah.

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First Published: Fri, February 21 2014. 22:25 IST