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'Satyam is a very valuable company'

April 14, 2009 10:02 IST

Calling it the culmination of the bid process, Kiran Karnik, chairman of Satyam Computer Services' board, said he was happy at the step.

The board -- which includes T N Manoharan, former chief, ICAI, and HDFC chief Deepak Parekh, appeared relieved after a marathon run of selecting a bidder for the scam-tainted firm.

Edited excerpts from the press conference:

Does Tech Mahindra have to wait till the open offer is complete to take control?

Karnik: Tech Mahindra does not have to wait. They will get management control immediately after they acquire 31 per cent shares.

However, they have to deposit the money in an escrow account in the next four days.

The approval of the Company Law Board has to come and then they can take over management control.

Is the board happy with the price that Satyam received?

Karnik: We are happy, the reason being that there is an active market that takes account of all factors objectively.

Satyam is a very valuable company and the fact that Tech Mahindra is taking over is positive news.

While I say this is a culmination of the process, there are a few procedures left.

I am very happy that at this stage you are seeing Satyam, in some sense, being reborn with a new investor, a new owner.

What's the transition plan now?

Karnik: The transition has to be worked out with the final approved investor. We will talk to the party and then have a transition programme.

As far as employees and customers are concerned, the transition needs to be as smooth as the one when the new board was appointed by the government.

What is the current headcount and assets of Satyam?

Manoharan: When the government-appointed board took over, the headcount at Satyam was 51,000. At the end of the fourth quarter, it has come down to 48,000.

Satyam has 450 acres of land -- 50 per cent of which is freehold and the remaining is leasehold. Of the 50 per cent that is owned, they have 125 acres in Hyderabad, encompassing two campuses.

Both these campuses are valued at Rs 1,700 crore (Rs 17 billion).

Parekh: We carried out valuations of these two campuses by three different valuers before the bidding started.

Between the freehold and lease hold, the value is Rs 1,500-2,000 crore (Rs 15-20 billion) and hence the valuation of Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion). It is at this valuation that we have taken Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) from two public sector banks.

By when will shareholders get details of Satyam's accounts?

Parekh: The two accounting firms are still working on it.

We are trying to restate accounts pertaining to the past five to six years -- starting from 2008-09, and going backwards. This is bound to take some time.

Subsequently, whatever data the board had, which is privileged information, and was shared with the bidders, could be made public to other shareholders. But that is a call the new bidder will have to take.