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Monday, Mar 11, 2002

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Corporate - Restructuring

Home Trade in the midst of rejig throes

Our Bureau

PUNE, March 10

FINANCIAL services company Home Trade is in the middle of a restructuring exercise that has seen it shutting down a number of channels of its Web site,

The company has also ended its contracts with content vendors with a view to overhauling the Web site, and has already shut down its channels on women, lifestyle and sports among other things. Sources told Business Line that Ways India Ltd, another company floated by the same promoters, EDTV (Euro Discover Technology Venture), is also restructuring operations and has reduced workforce over the last few weeks.

Sources insist that salary cheques for the staff have been delayed over the last couple of months following the restructuring.

A Home Trade spokesperson, when contacted, admitted that its official Web site was being restructured since its view-tracking system showed that the site was read more for its financial news and information pages.

``The Web site will now focus more on financial news and information and this is also in keeping with our position of being the world's first fast moving financial goods company (FMFG), a spokesperson said.

Company sources, however, insisted that staffers providing content to the comprehensive multi-channel Web-site had been issued the pink slip.

Interestingly, the company apparently hired staff to provide content to these channels only recently.

A Home Trade spokesperson, however, denied the retrenchments but said the company would now reduce coverage of information and general news while increasing the depth and quality of its financial news and analysis.

``In line with the evolving online model, we are realigning our relationship with our network of content vendors,'' the spokesperson said. Sources, however, insisted that the services of many of the content vendors were recently stopped without prior notice.

The company's content vendor list includes the likes of Financial Times, Business Standard and IANS. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Ways India ltd said, when contacted, that it had downsized operations at its competency centre by 25 people following the realignment of business operations of its strategic partner, Brokats Infosystems AG, Germany.

The latter filed for insolvency in December 2001 following which Ways India had reduced focus on work related to its technologies at its competency centre, the spokesperson said.

The centre, set up to support and provide expertise for international projects of Brokats, would continue to support projects currently being developed, she added.

Industry watchers point out to the irony of the set-up at Home Trade.

At a time when the rest of the industry were licking their wounds on the wayside after their industry went bust, the company cocked a snook at the trend by running a multi-crore ad campaign with Bollywood hunks _ Hrithik Roshan, Shah Rukh Khan and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

It extended the scope of its operations from being an on-line financial service to also include an off-line model when it launched the multi-crore branded financial goods project recently.

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