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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Turnaround likely for Srei Infra's rural arm
~~Sumit Moitra
 SREI Infrastructure’s, CMD, Hemant Kanoria
Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited has appointed consultancy major McKinsey to evaluate operations and strengthen new lines of revenues of its rural arm, Srei Sahaj e-Village, which is expected to turn around this fiscal.

“We expect this year to be (operating profit- or) Ebitda-positive (for Srei Sahaj) and grow much faster, going forward,” vice chairman Sunil Kanoria told analysts on Tuesday.

Srei Sahaj operates 26,000 common services centres covering 29 crore people across six states. Through it, Srei Infra plans to launch its white-label automated teller machines (ATMs), or machines not linked to any single bank.

For this, Srei Infra received the Reserve Bank of India’s approval in April. Srei is targeting rural centres under Sahaj that have internet and VSat connectivity but not bank branches.

“We have to work out an appropriate business model as we are the only company with such a huge rural network,” said Kanoria.

Another of Srei’s arms, Viom Networks, which owns telecom towers, has turned around in 2012-13 with a positive bottomline. Prior, Viom’s rental business was severely hit by the slowdown in the telecom business, post the 2G scam. One of its key clients, Uninor, had scaled down its business, aggravating Srei’s woes. Yet, Srei was able to bag major clients such as Bharti, Vodafone and Idea last year.

Courtesy: DNA India