India’s largest software services company, unlisted Tata Consultancy Services, said on Friday it had been chosen by State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank, to install new trade finance software. TCS will customise and implement the Eximbills software, sourced from China Systems, a Chinese company that supplies the software to 300 customers in 75 countries. Banks typically use trade finance systems to audit and automate the entire trade finance cycle, from calculating commissions, issuing letters of credit, estimating liabilities and arriving at foreign exchange equivalents.
TCS, which is part of the salt-to-software Tata group, India’s second-largest conglomerate by sales, did not disclose a value for the contract. In May, it had received another contract from SBI, estimated at Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion), which was part of the bank’s plan to more thoroughly computerise and link its sprawling 9,000-branch network. TCS chief executive S Ramadorai told reporters after a news conference called to announce the contract that the business environment for tech companies continued to be uncertain and bagging contracts was taking longer than usual.
“The impact of all this uncertainty is not substantial growth,” he said. But he said TCS’s first-half performance would be in line with its internal targets, which he did not specify, and that the company would hire 2,000 staff each this year and the next. It will have 22,000 employees at the end of the financial year to March. Unlisted TCS plans to go public, but Ramadorai declined to comment on the timing of the issue, probably the most eagerly awaited event in the country’s primary market. The company has notched up a series of impressive orders ahead of a possible listing.
It set up a 40-person development centre last month for AT&T Wireless Services Inc, deepening an existing relationship. In May, it got a large banking order — estimated by industry sources at $25 million — from French Bank Societe Generale. In April, it signed a contract estimated at more than $100 million over two to three years from GE Medical Systems, a subsidiary of General Electric Co. TCS has more than 800 clients around the world, including seven of the 10 biggest US companies. Major clients include American Express, AIG, Boeing, Citibank, Dell Computers and Nike. SBI shares ended down 0.35 per cent at Rs 230.10, while the Bombay benchmark closed down 0.26 per cent.