Srei Sahaj looking for PE investors to dilute stake

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Sahaj e-Village, a Srei Initiative and a business integrator in the field of IT infrastructure with a focus on rural India, is scouting for a strategic investor, mostly private equity (PE) investors against dilution of promoters’ stake. It, however, refuses to divulge the names of the possible strategic investors.

“We are not in desperate need of external funds. But we are actually harvesting. If we get the right price and in right terms, we are open to diluting anything between 10 and 40 per cent. And in all likelihood it will be one of the overseas PE funds we are in talks with,” said Hemant Kanoria, chairman and managing director, Srei Infrastructure Finance.

Kanoria said that it should have been closed by now but thanks to demonetisation and other economic disruptions, the move is getting delayed. “Hopefully by the year 2017-18, the deal will be through,” he said. Significantly, Sahaj is looking at putting up 1,00,000 Sahaj centres across the country by March 2018.

At present, Sahaj has 61,359 centres across India, up from 36,891 centres as on December 31, 2015. Sahaj, which was present only in 9 states as on December 31, 2015, is now functional in 23 states and Union territories. “The plan is to add nearly 1,500 centres every month so that we can reach our target,” said Kanoria.

He said, “The recent demonetisation drive and the move towards cashless/digital economy have thrown up huge opportunities and given boost to organisation like Sahaj, which has been following a brick and click model. This is because our focus is on rural India and in rural areas, just ‘click and click’ model does not work. You need to have a brick and click model, at least in the initial phases.”

At present products and services offered through Sahaj centres include banking correspondents for leading banks, insurance products (life, general and health) for top insurers, utility bill payment services, e-commerce, e-learning services.

“Going forward, we will add new products and services, including some innovative services like aadhar card services, mobile top-ups so on and so forth. We keep on getting feedbacks from the market which help is revising, changing and adding to our product/service portfolio,” said Kanoria.

ritwikmukherjee@mydigitalfc.com

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