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Equifax to buy out SBI, other partners in India joint venture
Photo Credit: Reuters

US-based consumer credit reporting firm Equifax Inc. is buying the stake held by State Bank of India and its other local joint venture partners in Equifax Credit Information Services Pvt. Ltd.

The New York-listed data, analytics and technology company said in a statement it will acquire 100% ownership of the Indian venture.

“This investment represents the strong confidence that Equifax has in India’s economy and ECIS’s growth potential,” said Equifax CEO Mark W. Begor. “This transaction emphasizes Equifax’s focus on expanding our footprint globally as a leader in differentiated data, advanced analytics, and technology that create innovative solutions and insights for our customers.”

Separately, SBI, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Sundaram Finance Ltd said in stock-exchange filings they will divest their stake in Equifax Credit Information.

VCCircle had reported Bank of Baroda’s plan to sell its stake in Equifax Credit almost a year ago and SBI’s plan in October last year. VCCircle had also reported that Equifax Inc. had the right to buy out its Indian partners and that it was likely to do so.

SBI will sell its 7.41% stake, Bank of Baroda and Sundaram Finance 10% each, Bank of India 3.5%, Union Bank of India 4.17% and Kotak Mahindra 5.56%. All are selling their shares at Rs 67.43 apiece, though the price could increase as per the terms of the sale agreement.

At this price, SBI will fetch Rs 67.43 crore, Bank of India Rs 31.86 crore, Union Bank of India Rs 38 crore and Kotak Rs 50.5 crore. Bank of Baroda and Sundaram will get Rs 91 crore each. In total, Equifax will spend about Rs 370 crore to take full control of the India venture.

Equifax Inc. previously held a 49.37% stake in the Indian venture while the six financial institutions and Religare Finvest Ltd owned the remaining. Religare likely exited in 2018.

The selling shareholders didn’t specify any reason for their decision to exit the joint venture. However, Bank of Baroda has previously said that it planned to sell non-core assets in its struggle against bad loans.

Equifax

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax Inc. operates or has investments in 24 countries worldwide and employs about 11,000 people.

The global information services provider operates in India through Equifax Credit Information Services, launched in 2010, and Equifax Analytics Pvt. Ltd. It has offices in Bengaluru and Delhi.

In 2012, Equifax Inc. had acquired a 51% stake in Bengaluru-based analytics and business intelligence provider NettPositive. Two years later, it acquired the remaining stake.

Equifax Credit Information reported a 26% rise in total revenue to Rs 40.7 crore for the year through March 2018 from Rs 32.3 crore the year before. Net profit jumped to Rs 8.96 crore from Rs 2.65 crore.

For 2018-19, the company reported total income of Rs 50.83 crore and a profit after tax of Rs 11.87 crore.

*This article has been updated with additional information disclosed by Equifax and other selling shareholders.

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