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March 21, 2001
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Ford buys 20 per cent stake in Indian software firm

Ford Motor Company, the world's No 2 automaker, has bought a 20 per cent stake in Indian software firm Thirdware Solution Ltd - its first investment in an infotech company outside the United States, officials said on Wednesday.

Five-year-old, Bombay-based Thirdware specialises in e-business software services and has worked with Ford Motor over the past five years, both in India and in other Asia-Pacific regions.

"Ford Motor Company only takes strategic stake in companies with whom it enjoys a strong partnership and Thirdware marks our first such investment outside the United States," David Friedman, vice-president of finance and systems of Ford Motor India told a news conference.

He did not reveal the quantum of investment in privately-held Thirdware.

Thirdware is also implementing an accounting software package for Ford's global offices.

John Larson, director of information technology for Ford Motor Asia Pacific said Ford would commit business of $6-18 million to Thirdware over the next three years, depending on its ability to deliver, and Ford's own requirements.

He said the agreement with Thirdware was non-exclusive.

Ford plans to make India a hub for its IT requirements in the Asia-Pacific region and will announce the opening of a development centre in the southern Indian city of Madras next week.

Larson said Ford Motor would also reveal other partnerships soon and said his company was exploring more equity investment opportunities.

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