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UK-based Experian plc, one of the largest credit bureau's in the world, has sold a 51% stake in its Indian venture to seven companies which include banks and financial institutions. Experian will retain a 49% stake, the maximum foreign investment allowed in the space, in Experian Credit Information Company of India Pvt Ltd. The other stake

holders will be Axis Bank, Federal Bank, Indian Bank, Magma Fincorp, Punjab National Bank, Sundaram Finance and Union Bank of India.

As of November 2009, the joint venture company, Experian Credit Information Company of India, has gross assets of $15 millon. The joint venture decision follows that of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 17 April 2009 to grant Experian a provisional licence to operate a credit information company. The credit bureau will provide the platform to launch new data and analytic products.

Experian is one of only a select few companies to be granted a provisional licence to operate a credit bureau in India. Experian Credit Information Company of India will now apply to the RBI to secure a final licence.

Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (Cibil), which was set up in 2004, dominates the Indian market among credit bureaus. But a number of new players like Equifax Inc, which last week named Samir Bhatia as India Managing Director and CEO, have entered India in last six months. Another new player is High Mark Credit Information Services, which has backing of Battery Ventures, Citicorp Finance and US-based CBC Companies Inc.

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