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Monday, Feb 25, 2002

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e-Serve surrenders NBFC approval -- To focus on IT-enabled services

Ambarish Mukherjee

NEW DELHI, Feb. 24

CITICORP Securities & Investments Ltd, which has been renamed as e-Serve International Ltd, will henceforth not take on any non-banking finance company (NBFC) activity.

The company has surrendered the NBFC approval given by the Reserve Bank of India and informed the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) of this decision, official sources said.

e-Serve International Ltd is the only listed company of the Citibank group in India.

e-Serve is currently being quoted at around Rs 480 on the Bombay Stock Exchange while the 52-week high and low of the scrip are Rs 524 and Rs 125 respectively. The company's market capitalisation stood at Rs 594.1 crore when markets closed on Friday afternoon.

The company has also sought permission from the FIPB for issuing 7,63,360 equity shares of Rs 10 each to Citibank Overseas Investment Corporation (COIC), Citi group's investment holding company in lieu of 9,54,200 shares of Rs 10 each held by COIC in Citicorp Credit Services India Ltd (CCSIL).

This will increase COIC's stake in e-Serve to 34.39 per cent from 32.41 per cent currently. Last year, as part of consolidating its non-banking activities in India under a single management, e-Serve International Ltd and Citicorp Credit Services India Ltd (CCSIL) were merged into a single company through an all-stock deal.

It has now been decided that e-Serve will no longer undertake any NBFC activity and will concentrate only in IT-enabled services in the fields of loans, securities, trade, cash management, cards processing etc.

The restructuring of non-banking activities follows the bank's earlier announcement regarding simplification of the management structure and move towards a singular reporting system for its corporate and consumer banking businesses. Earlier, these businesses operated independently.

e-Serve International is currently engaged in merchant banking services, leasing, hire purchase, finance and allied services, managing collection process, call centres and providing IT-enabled transaction processing services in the area of banking finance to Citicorp group entities in India.

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