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Rolta to wrap up GIS buy before July

Tuesday, 06 May , 2008, Rolta India Ltd is studying companies and technologies in the geospatial information system (GIS) space in the UK and the US.

The intention is to acquire a company operating in the field ‘in a couple of months’, said Rolta Group chairman and CEO K.K. Singh. He indicated that the buys would be completed before July this year.

A geospatial information system is used to capture, store, analyse and manage data and related attributes geographically.

The technology has applications in fields such as scientific studies, resource and asset management, environmental impact assessment, urban planning and logistics, among others.

DNA Money had, on January 28, first reported Rolta’s plans to acquire niche GIS capability.

“In line with our policy of increasing differentiation by getting into niche segments within the infrastructure space, we would like to acquire specific GIS capability soon,” Singh said. Rolta is eyeing a $20 million acquisition by buying the intellectual property rights (IPR) for niche technology.

Rolta is also planning to acquire a company in the engineering & infrastructure design space for about $50 million -$100 million, after which it hopes to develop capabilities in certain high-technology aspects of projects such as state-of-the-art airports, sea links, tunnels, metro rail, transit projects, and under-sea tunnels.

“The technological know-how for such projects is lacking in India now, and our latest acquisition of TUSC and the upcoming buys will help us bring important technologies to India,” Singh said.

Rolta had acquired Broech Corporation, better known as TUSC, an IT consulting company specialising in ERP applications, database and business intelligence solutions, for $45 million in January this year.

Singh wants to turn Rolta into a $1 billion company in the next two years, riding on two of its major business segments — geospatial services and engineering & infrastructure design.

The company expects to earn 50% of its revenues from the geospatial business, 28% from engineering & infrastructure design and the rest from its software services by 2010.

Currently, 60% of Rolta India’s business comes from the geospatial segment and 30% from engineering design.

Defence sector is a big earner, and Rolta’s joint venture with French firm Thales, for technology transfer on mission-critical information systems for defence, aerospace and security markets, will start generating revenues from 2009.

Singh wants to build this arm into a $250 million business by 2012.

Another joint venture with US-based Stone & Webster for engineering services is expected to add $500 million to the topline by that time.