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The Usha Martin Group acquire UK outsourced contact centre Converso to spearhead global BPO Brand

- New investment will create 400 new jobs in UK and a further 1,400 in South Africa and India

Southend, UK, 11th September, 2007 – The Jhawar family, main share holders of the Usha Martin Group, a USD 750Mn, diversified conglomerate with interests in telecom, software, mining and manufacturing, has today announced the 76% acquisition of UK based outsourcer Converso Contact Centres for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition marks another major milestone in the Group’s plans to accelerate its Business Process Outsourcing operations in the UK, India and South Africa.

Commenting on the new acquisition, Mr Prashant Jhawar, Vice Chairman of the Group said, “Our strategy is to continually develop and diversify our business operations globally and we see the BPO market as having high growth potential. To exploit this opportunity, we are investing in both new and existing international locations and plan to build facilities for a total of 2,000 contact centre seats globally (both on-shore and off-shore) that will meet the demands from major blue chip organisations and give them the choice of leveraging domestic and overseas BPO capabilities.”

There are also close synergies between the Group’s existing telecom and Software business and Converso, that will further augment the delivery of end-to-end Customer Care & Billing solutions, and other back office services to the Group’s existing customers of over 75 mobile network operators and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) worldwide, including South African operators, MTN and Vodacom.

The Usha Martin Group currently employ 4,000 people in India and more than 600 people in other locations around the world. The Partnership with Converso will retain and expand Converso’s existing Southend operation of 230 employees, and develop the ‘Converso Contact Centres’ name into an international brand. The Group’s existing offices in South Africa and India will be used as the basis for building further BPO facilities.

Nalin Tikkoo, Director Mergers & Acquisitions explains why they chose Converso, “We looked at a number of potential acquisition targets in the UK, some of them very large. However, Converso’s impressive client list, strong financial services pedigree and an entrepreneurial spirit that closely matched our own business culture, made Converso the ideal partner. Furthermore, we could see a high growth potential for Converso. The company is already a well-respected and established brand in the UK, but additional investment will take the company to the next level. We plan to use the UK operation as our headquarters and flagship organisation for BPO business worldwide, using this model as a ‘blueprint’ for our future international centres.”

One of Converso’s founding directors, Dino Forte said, “This is great news for our customers, staff and for UK job creation generally, so everybody gains from this new partnership. Our goal from the outset was to develop a major BPO and contact centre business that could offer our clients a full on-shore and off-shore service with access to significant dedicated resources. This acquisition will enable the company to achieve this objective far sooner than we could do through organic growth alone and at a time when the market is crying out for new capacity. With this investment we expect to create over 400 new jobs in the UK and quadruple annual revenues within 3 years.”

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For further information visit:- www.converso.co.uk
Press Contact for Converso: Jane Moores/Sally Minchin, TTA Communications LTD. Tel: 00 44 (0)1225 731317. e-mail: jmoores@ttauk.com

Contact for Usha Martin Group: Nalin Tikkoo Tel: 00 44 (0) 7798 564872.
e-mail: Nalin.tikkoo@eppixcomm.com

Editor’s Notes:

About Usha Martin Group:

Usha Martin Group is a publicly held corporation, with a forty-five year history. Usha Martin Group also owns UshaComm and Eppixcomm providers of Billing and Customer Systems to Fixed, Mobile, Cable & Satellite and IP/ Broadband communications providers across all continents. The Group has presence in UK, India, USA, Singapore, Thailand and South Africa.

About Converso:

Established in 1997 as Response Track Ltd, the seasoned telemarketing specialist changed its name to Converso Contact Centres in 2003 and provides both inbound and outbound call handling. The company’s well-trained, highly motivated and friendly staff are an all-important first point of contact for its customers and are backed up by a virtual call centre - a sophisticated blend of people skills and advanced computer and telephone integration. The company services a range of industries including finance, utilities, public sector, manufacturing, leisure, IT & telco, retail and the arts.

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