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Satyam Infoway Forms Online Trading, B2B Joint Ventures

Satyam Infoway Thursday drew in two new joint venture deals, one with U.K.-based Refco Group Ltd. for an online brokerage and another with Singapore portal Plasticscommerce.com to bring its B2B exchange services to India.

In the first deal, Satyam (SIFY) and Refco will create Refco-Sify Securities India Pvt. Ltd. with an initial injection of $10 million. The new company, in which Refco will retain a 60 percent stakehold and Satyam will hold 40 percent, will be based in Mumbai and will offer trading to retail clients.

"Our investment with Sify in the fast growing Indian e-commerce environment, shortly after starting our India office in Mumbai is a reflection of our long term commitment in India to service the needs of Indian investors, corporates and institutions in the use of risk management products like stock and commodity futures, for which we have a global brand," said Phillip Bennett, Refco's chief executive officer.

In February, Refco Group completed the acquisition of discount futures brokerage firm and early-arriver online brokerage Lind-Waldock & Co. LLC, which the company says will bolster its Internet strategy. The service will compete with the Tata/TD Waterhouse venture, which was announced in October.

The Plasticscommerce.com joint venture will be a B2B exchange portal for India's plastics industry. The two companies are calling the strategy the first vertical site to include India content and global B2B services. The service will rely on Seekandsource.com, Satyam's online procurement platform. The portal will offer sellers virtual offices, online fulfillment services, buyer advertising newsletters, as well as a search engine and directory.

"There are various components to our value proposition. One is in the form of seamless transactions which will reduce the inefficiencies associated with traditional supply chain management," said Quck Mei Hsien, director of Plasticscommerce.com. "Another is in the online community that will provide dynamic content to meet the specific needs of the industry."

Satyam claims to be the country's largest private ISP with 129,000 customers as of January. The parent company of the ISP this week announced a 5-to-1 split of its India-listed stock.