SKS Trust acquiring 70% stake in financial services startup Outreach

Biksham Gujja-led SKS Trust, the single-largest shareholder of the SKS Microfinance, is acquiring 70 per cent stake in Outreach Financial Services India (OFS India), a Hyderabad-based financial services startup promoted by former employees of SKS Microfinance, as per a report in Business Standard citing a top executive.

Vikram Akula-founded SKS Trust will hold 70 per cent stake and the remaining 30 per cent will be held by its founder Surya Kumar, employees and some private investors like Sarath Sura, co-founder of information technology company Sierra Atlantic.

OFS India, which was founded recently by Surya Kumar, partners with banks to build, manage and service self-help groups on behalf of the lenders. The firm plans to employ 350 people by the end of 2014.

The proposed hiring will help OFS connect people in villages to its banking partner's core banking systems for delivery of banking services to rural households.

In late 2011, Akula quit SKS Microfinance over differences with the firm’s board. Akula was reportedly keen on getting back on board of the company with the backing of the five trusts, which together are the single-largest shareholder of the firm.

However, SKS Microfinance recently informed that its founder and former chief Akula as also a set of Mutual Benefit Trusts, which currently hold around 12.51 per cent stake, are no longer classified as promoters of the firm.

The company's Mutual Benefit Trusts includes SKS Mutual Benefit Trust Medak, Sangareddy, Jogipet, Narayankhed and Sadasivapet. They too have neither special rights nor a board nominee and have asked the company to remove their name as promoters as they do not influence the decisions of the company, the firm informed.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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