The founding partners of the Xenitis Group of Companies, which introduced the country’s first personal computer for less than Rs10,000, have split.
Santanu Ghosh and Tathagata Dutta, two childhood friends and computer professionals who got together to set up West Bengal’s first IT hardware venture and went on to manufacture the most affordable branded computer in the country, have decided to split their business.
The Xenitis group comprises four companies: Xenitis Infotech, which makes the computers, Xenitis Technolab, an IT training company, Xenitis Global Motors, which plans to make motorbikes in collaboration with a Chinese manufacturer and SST Media which controls the 24-hour Bengali news channel Kolkata TV.
“We have decided to separate the businesses,” said Xenitis chairman Santanu Ghosh in an interview with Mint. “Xenitis was undergoing a strong growth curve and we decided to focus on our respective core areas. Earlier we were 50:50 partners in all the companies. But since the last three months, the shareholding pattern has changed.”
Ghosh said he will fully own the three technology firms while his former partner will inherit the media company. The change in ownership took place on 23 October 2006. He said it was an amicable split. Dutta could not be reached.
The duo are widely held as examples of one of the most successful business groups to come from communist-ruled West Bengal in the last decade. Ghosh and Dutta quit their jobs as Team Leader, IBM (East), and Channel Manager, HCL, respectively, and founded Xenitis, six years ago. That’s after they realised they could buy cheap hardware from China and Taiwan to offer reliable branded computers in the market. They captured the youth market by introducing computers and key boards in colours such as red and orange. And branded the computers Aamar PC in the east, Aamchi PC in the west, Aapna PC in the north and Namma PC in the south. Their initial investment was Rs25 lakh.
Over the years the duo expanded into other businesses such as training IT staff and launched a news channel. Most recently they announced the motorcycle project with Guangzhou Motor Company. Turnover for the group has grown from Rs7 crore in fiscal 2001 to Rs530 crore in fiscal 2006. The company has 17 offices all over the country.