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Pallonji Mistry forays into BPO business

Reeba Zachariah in Mumbai | November 16, 2004 10:18 IST

Construction baron Pallonji Mistry has got into the business process outsourcing business. Forbes Gokak, a Shapoorji Pallonji group company, which deals in textiles to consumer durables, has set up two firms, Forbes Technosys and Forbes Bradma Business Automation, to run the BPO business.

Forbes Technosys looks after the international call center business while Forbes Bradma Business Automation is focussing on the domestic business.

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Harjit Ahuja, former managing director of Webhelp India, has been appointed the chief executive officer of the BPO venture in both companies. Before Webhelp, Ahuja had worked with Reliance Infocomm and the GE group.

When contacted, Ahuja said, "The BPO venture is yet another addition to the group's diverse business interests. We are currently doing pilot projects at (our facilities in) Andheri and Kandivili in Mumbai. We are planning to set up our own call centres in the Shapoorji Pallonji group-constructed IT park in Pune. The Pune facility will initially have 200 seats and this will later be increased to 800 seats."

"We have already bagged some contracts from international and domestic clients in the area of medical transcription, among others," Ahuja added.

Interestingly, the Mistry family holds a stake in India's largest software company Tata Consultancy Services, which also has BPO interests. The family is also the single largest shareholder of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Rs 54,000 crore (Rs 540 billion) Tata group.

This is the second new business Forbes Gokak is entering into in recent years. It had earlier made a foray into the online lottery business through Forbes Infotainment (formerly DhanDhanaDhan Infotainment) but could not meet with great success. It had restructured the lottery business and now has a tie-up with the South-based Martin group.

The Mistry's acquired Forbes Gokak from the Tatas, as the latter has identified textiles as a non-core business area.

Things are changing at Forbes Gokak, which is currently charting out an expansion plan in its textile and retail business. The company recently bought out its foreign partner, the Sweden-based Electrolux stake, in Eureka Forbes, the home appliances company. It is also expanding its shipping business.

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