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Q&A: Vineet Nayyar & C P Gurnani, Mahindra Satyam

'Profitability will take another 18 months'

Business Standard 

Almost 18 months after acquiring scam-hit Satyam Computer Services, the new management has come out with a clean balance sheet. It feels another 18 months are needed to come back to the industry average growth rate. However, the optimism is palpable. Chairman Vineet Nayyar and CEO C P Gurnani throw some light on the plans and road map at a press conference in Hyderabad today to announce the company's restated accounts. Some excerpts:

What are the key markets, geographies and vertical you won in the last year?
C P GurnaniGurnani: From May 7, 2009, when we were legally allowed to access the company records, to the period we are talking (up to March 31, 2010), we added 44 new clients. In terms of geographies, we have had success in all the three predominant markets – the US, Europe and APAC or emerging markets. One of our largest losses was in financial services and one of our major additions was also there. We added large accounts in North America, we have also added one of the largest banks in Germany. As of March 31, 2010, there have been additions of new clients in manufacturing and health care. In the public sector, there has been a fair amount of traction.

Are you ready to pitch for government contracts?
Gurnani: One of the most prestigious projects in the world right now is the UID project and we are part of that. We are active in the government sector (public sector) and we will continue to build our competencies.

Quantum of investments you’re making for future capabilities like cloud technology, SaaS?
Gurnani: We are one of the first few in the world to deliver a cloud-based application from one central location to all stadia and all locations for FIFA. Technology is one of the key differentiators for Mahindra Satyam. We will continue to invest in enterprise business solutions, our engineering services, in infrastructure management and BPO, and wherever possible, we would like to come to our customers with integrated services.

Attrition and utilisation rates? Hiring targets?
Gurnani: We’re 27,000 employees from the earlier 45,000. We’re actively going to all the business schools and actively hiring through our ‘Buddy Referral Programme’.

Road map for merging with Tech Mahindra or otherwise? 
Vineet NayyarNayyar: On April 13, 2009, both Anand (Mahindra) and I clearly stated that it was our intention to merge. That remains. For this, we have to announce Q1 and Q2 results for FY 10 and that will happen on November 15. Thereafter, we will commence the procedure – which involves essentially approaching the Andhra and Maharashtra high courts. That starts the process. Then we need to go to the accountants to determine the share value of the two companies and the swap ratio. These swap ratios will then go the AGM of the respective companies and after their approval, the merger process commences. Normally, this takes nine months to a year.

You said it takes two years for Mahindra Satyam to turn a leaf and be profitable...
Gurnani: The company is generating cash. We are coming close to the average growth of the industry. I think it will take another one-and-a-half years.

Is it right for Mahindra Satyam to get delisted from NYSE?
Nayyar: First, we we needed to be compliant with the Indian accounting system; it is as vigorous as any in the world. After this, we will devote ourselves towards completing the US GAAP accounts. It will take another six to seven months.

First Published: Thu, September 30 2010. 00:58 IST