Wednesday, March 5

Aviva BPO staff uneasy as co mulls stake sale

Aviva Plc, the UK’s largest insurer, has said it is holding discussions with a few companies to decide the fate of its back-office operations in India after completing a review of the operations that include both IT and BPO work. “At this time we can only confirm that as a result of this business review that we have undertaken, we have concluded that a number of different partnership models, all of which are viable alternatives to a captive, offer Aviva significant benefits,” Aviva Global Services (AGS), the insurer’s global BPO and IT offshoring arm, said in a statement.

The insurer has earlier been reported to be considering a sale of its offshoring centres, some of which it owns, while the others are operated by its offshoring partners. Its BPO partners, ExlService and WNS, are both learnt to be interested in eyeing a part or all of the offshoring centres as and when these are put on the block. “We intend to continue detailed discussions with a very small number of parties before reaching a final conclusion,” AGS said. The BPO operations employ 6,500 people, while there are about 2,200 people under the IT back-office operations, for which software firm Wipro is a partner.

A UK daily had reported that Aviva was evaluating paring its stake or an outright sale of two of its four back-office businesses, which could fetch it about $575 million. Aviva started back-office operations in India and Sri Lanka under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. While the offshoring centres in Bangalore and Colombo were transferred to it, two facilities in Pune operated by BPO firms ExlService and WNS were to be transferred by January this year. The transfer was postponed first to April 1, 2008, and then to May 2, 2008. EXL and 24X7 Customer are expected to manage BOT centres for Aviva in Noida and Chennai respectively till 2008.

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