Essar''s Aegis to form equal JV with Saudi Telecom

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Mumbai, Feb 1 (PTI) Aegis, BPO arm of USD 15-billionEssar Group, today said that it will form a near equal jointventure partnership with Saudi Telecom Co (STC), SaudiArabia�s largest telecom operator, to manage the latter''scustomer care operations and scout for more regionalopportunities.

As per the deal, the near equal joint venture companyto be christened as Call Centre Company (CCC), would providecustomer care service to STC�s over 28 million customers inSaudi Arabia, the company said in a statement.

While both the partners would have near equal stakes,STC will hold 50 per cent plus one share, and Aegis the rest.

"The deal would help STC variablise their fixed costand free up their management bandwidth to focus on emergingopportunities. This would also provide a huge leg up to Aegis�West Asia presence, since the joint venture would activelyseek new businesses. We have aspirations of making this thelargest BPO operations in the region," Aegis'' MD and GlobalCEO, Aparup Sengupta, said in a release.

In the first phase, STC would transfer about 550agents across two centres providing directory assistance tothe joint venture firm. The balance 4,500 customer care agentswould be transfered over the next 18-24 months. .

Aegis, that serves over 150 clients across various sectors through a network of 47 delivery centres in 11countries with over 50,000 employees, would have operationalcontrol and responsibilities, the release said adding that theservices would include billing, directory enquiry, collectionand verification among others.

Besides targeting for other customers in KSA, CCC wouldalso be scouting for customer care opportunities in Bahrainand Kuwait.

"STC has been a pioneer in the telecom sector in SaudiArabia and now is focusing in other growth markets like theGCC, Africa, and India. Time has now come for us to increaseour focus on our core operations, which is providing nextgeneration telecommunication service to our customers. We arehappy to have found an able partner in Aegis," STC''s GroupCEO, Saud Al Daweesh, said.

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