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Wipro not to sell water treatment business

Firm shelves plan to sell division after it fails to find buyers, hires expert to grow the business
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First Published: Sun, Oct 07 2012. 07 08 PM IST
The water treatment business, a unit of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, had a revenue of less than Rs100 crore. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
The water treatment business, a unit of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, had a revenue of less than Rs100 crore. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Updated: Sun, Oct 07 2012. 10 18 PM IST
Bangalore: Wipro Ltd has shelved plans to sell its water treatment business after it failed to find buyers, two people involved in the sale said.
Instead, the company has hired a water treatment expert, Pinaki Bhadury, as business head of Wipro Water to grow the division.
“The division needs additional focus and investments; it can be scaled on its own. There are no active dialogues to sell it any more,” one of the two people mentioned above said, requesting anonymity.
Wipro Water, which counts Coca-Cola Co. and United Breweries Ltd among its customers, failed to find buyers ready to pay the desired price, the second person said, also on condition of anonymity.
The water treatment business, a unit of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering Ltd, had a revenue of less than Rs.100 crore.
Pinaki Bhadury was previously vice-president, strategy consulting at research firm Frost and Sullivan Ltd, specializing in the business of water treatment.
Bhadury couldn’t be reached for comment immediately.
A Wipro spokesman declined to comment citing the so-called mandatory silent period ahead of the company’s financial earnings to be announced on 2 November.
“This was the second attempt by Wipro to sell off its water business,” the second person who participated in negotiations said.
According to The Times of India report on 13 September, three bidders including Degremont SA, Metito Ltd and Earth Water Group Ltd were interested in buying Wipro’s water business.
Last year, Wipro initiated talks to explore a sale of its water purification and treatment unit in order to focus better on its core businesses that include software services and hydraulic cylinders.
“The challenge has been to scale this business at a rate comparable with other group businesses,” the first person quoted above said. “It was felt that this could be scaled better being part of a group that has water as its core business,” he added.
Wipro entered the water business in 2008 by acquiring Aquatech Industries Ltd.
Since then, the company has explored options to sell it at least twice, attracting buyers that included Tata Group company Voltas Ltd.
The market for water treatment in India is growing at 18% every year and now stands at nearly $420 million, according to EA Water Pvt. Ltd, which tracks the industry.
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First Published: Sun, Oct 07 2012. 07 08 PM IST
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