State Bank of India forms joint tech firm with TCS

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - State Bank of India, the country's largest commercial bank, said on Monday it had formed a joint venture with Tata Consultancy Services Ltd to sell technology to banks and financial services firms.

TCS, India's top technology services firm, will hold 51 percent in the new company, C-Edge Technologies Ltd, while SBI will own 49 percent.

With equity capital of 400 million rupees, C-Edge will draw upon the capabilities of the parent companies, TCS and SBI said in a joint statement.

SBI has computerised its 13,600 branches and installed a core banking system, with TCS as its technology partner, which connects all its systems in more than 6000 of them.

"SBI has built huge knowledge and implementation expertise," SBI chairman A.K. Purwar told a news conference. "We propose now to put a value to this implementation capability."

"Through this company, we propose to provide this implementation capability to the banking system in the country and we would like to take it to the global level," he said.

TCS managing director and chief executive S. Ramadorai said he hoped C-Edge would be profitable in two to three years. He declined to give staffing details and said business plans were still being worked out.

Banking, insurance and financial services, now a big focus for TCS, contribute US$750 million to annual TCS revenue, which was US$2.2 billion in the fiscal year ended in March.

For a start, C-Edge will play a key role in deploying banking products from Sydney-based Financial Services Network Services (FNS), acquired by TCS last month.

TCS also acquired last month the business processes portfolio of UK pension group Pearl, gaining a presence in the customer service side of the business.

Ramadorai said the SBI joint venture was a way to further its plans to be a "full-service provider" in banking, insurance and financial services. Two of its biggest orders were from this segment -- Pearl and part of an ABN Amro deal this year.

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