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Tata Group mull streamlining of technology operations

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Since joining earlier this year, new Tata Group chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran has been seeking to revamp the $100 billion conglomerate, which makes everything from table salt to luxury cars.

[MUMBAI] Tata Group, the Indian conglomerate that manages more than 100 operating companies, is weighing a plan to streamline its technology and infrastructure businesses, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The conglomerate is considering a restructuring that would see several of its technology businesses moved under publicly traded Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, according to the people. Tata Group, which wants to reduce the number of companies it oversees, may sell some smaller units that don't fit with its strategy, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Tata Group hasn't made a final decision about which companies would be folded under TCS, the people said. It controls Mumbai-listed Tata Elxsi Ltd, a product engineering firm with a market value of about US$810 million. The group also owns Tata Interactive Systems, which sells computer-assisted learning products, as well as closely held outsourcing provider Tata Business Support Services Ltd.

Since joining earlier this year, new Tata Group chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran has been seeking to revamp the $100 billion conglomerate, which makes everything from table salt to luxury cars. Tata Group said in May it hired former investment banker Saurabh Agrawal as chief financial officer, filling a role that's been vacant for five years.

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Deliberations are at an early stage, and there's no certainty they will result in a transaction, the people said. A representative for Tata Group declined to comment.

Tata Group is also considering a plan to merge several infrastructure businesses into a single company, the people said. Its Voltas Ltd affiliate, which makes most of its money providing air conditioning systems, also offers engineering services and develops turnkey water treatment projects. Closely held developer Tata Realty & Infrastructure Ltd has a business that builds bridges and airports, while Tata Projects Ltd works on roads, railways and power transmission networks.

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