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India Giant Tata Plans Super-ISP

Tata Enterprises is working out plans to roll out what could be the most ambitious Internet venture in the country: ISP India Ltd.

According to highly placed sources at Bombay House, the headquarter of Tata Industries, Tata Enterprises is planning to take over regional ISPs. ISP India plans to cover nearly 60 cities over a short period.

Tata has considerable presence in India's InfoTech industry through systems consultancy TCS-- which employs 11,000 professionals in 55 countries - as well as Tata Infotech and Tata Interactive Systems.

These companies are involved in Internet-related activities but Tata Enterprises has yet to float a pure Internet company.

Corporate analysts feel that the new Net company will emerge as the largest business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform, given Tata's formidable strength in Indian business.

According to KA Chaukar, managing director of Tata Industries, the holding company for 14 Tata ventures: "The strategies as well as the equity pattern of the ISP venture are being worked out."

One analyst commented that Tata Enterprises should see an increase in their valuation on account of an increase in business opportunities via e-commerce.

ISP India is likely to focus on the B2B sector first, then target the B2C sector. The company may also decide to go for a listing at a later stage.

Tata Enterprises is a major Indian industrial group with 82 companies, a turnover of US$10 billion and 262,000 employees.



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