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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 09:29 GMT
GE sells India outsourcing unit
Software Engineers at Inflex, Bangalore
Many US and European firms have outsourced work to India
US giant General Electric (GE) has sold a majority stake in its Indian outsourcing arm for $500m to two private equity firms.

The deal gives US-based General Atlantic Partners and Oak Hill Capital Partners a 60% stake in GE Capital International Services (GECIS).

GECIS is a pioneer in the lucrative global outsourcing industry.

GE was one of the first American companies to outsource back-office work to India in an effort to save costs.

India has a large pool of English-speaking skilled workers providing expertise in services such as accounting, insurance, claims processing and information technology.

Indian employees are also willing to work for comparatively low wages.

Global appeal

GECIS employs 17,000 people, some 12,000 of whom are in India.

We will now have unrestricted access to the world market
Pramod Bhasin
CEO and president, GECIS
"This transaction allows us to offer our quality business process services to an expanding roster of leading companies worldwide," Pramod Bhasin, GECIS president and chief executive officer, said.

"We will now have unrestricted access to the world market," he said.

But the company says it is not leaving India.

GE's strategy is "to capitalise on the intellectual talent in India and grow the industrial and financial services business faster than the local markets," GE India chairman Scott Bayman told journalists in Delhi.

GE is one of many American and European firms which moved its call centres and back office work to India in the late 1990s to take advantage of the country's low-wage English-speaking workforce.

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