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There will never be a threat of a hostile takeover in Happiest Minds: Ashok Soota



Being 97% digital, we are growing at a faster rate, a compound of 20% more, compared to 8-10% for today’s biggest IT players, says Ashok Soota, Executive Chairman and Director, The happiest spirits.

Congratulations first of all on a stellar list. There was a very strong response from investors of over 100% earnings on the day of registration alone. How are you feeling and what is the way forward for the company to publish this very strong list?

All the people who have contributed to the success of the IPO and this obviously includes our bankers, legal advisers, auditors, members of the board of directors and especially our wonderful team to whom I would like to dedicate this IPO. Now as to how I feel, I have mixed feelings from the time we got this huge response. There’s always that feeling that there are going to be some disappointed people who applied and didn’t get their shares and you can see that in the social media comments etc.

The second aspect is of course that it creates a responsibility for the teams to be able to meet the expectations that this creates and to that extent it is a challenge and a challenge is something that we have to look forward to and see how we go from there. before in our general imprint.

The post-Covid mega trend appears to be the massive acceleration in the adoption of the technology. In your case, 97% of revenue comes from IT services and a lot of it is digital. At the industry level, what is the type of opportunity for an IT services company like yours?
I should clarify and distinguish between what you call a larger IT services market and the digital part of the IT services market. We were born digital, born agile, 97% of our business is digital and the traditional IT market is getting smaller and smaller and that is why we are able to grow at a faster rate – say a 20% compound more compared to around 8% to 10% for today’s large IT players.

I imagine when you say the IT services industry is growing, it’s usually about the whole market, downturns and recessions, and more in this one where everything goes virtual, IT will certainly grow faster. The transformation to digital will also accelerate and therefore from that angle, I would say that we are in a good situation.

You are primarily in IT services, is there a plan to maybe expand into other verticals or what is this limited to areas similar to where you are currently present? ?
We need to be clear that we are an IT services company, we are not in any other business, nor are we planning to go into these businesses. The way we define and the entire industry defines verticals is different. For example, our largest and fastest growing vertical sector is edutech. You can clearly see how it will benefit from this environment as everything becomes virtual.

The other vertical in which we have a very strong presence is the rest of the high-tech world. Once again, because it is a key skill at Happiest Minds, two of them represent 76% of our activity which have only been marginally or not impacted by the Covid crisis. The remaining 24% have been affected, but fortunately we have a very marginal presence in the travel and hospitality sector, which is the vertical most affected and therefore we must continue to build on the strengths that we have. We think we have a fairly wide coverage in terms of verticals. It’s not that we plan to go into new areas, but what sets us apart is the fact that we always invest in new technologies and then we build solutions and solution accelerators to enter those markets. .

I’ll give you an example here. When we started Happiest Minds, we were in what was called a SMACK pack that included analytics and the cloud, after which we added over the years internet of things, machine learning, virtual reality. and augmented, etc.

Your stake has gone down after listing, are there any plans to further reduce the stake from current levels? After Mindtree and Happiest Minds, are you interested in any other upcoming projects or projects?
First, my diluted stake will be 55% but a very large proportion of our shares is also owned by members of our team. So if you have a question in the back of your mind as to whether there might be a hostile takeover because you also introduced MindTree, all I have to say to you is that it there is no such threat and never will be. matter. We will remain well positioned in this regard.

Going forward, I don’t want to speculate on whether my stocks will go up or down, if we obviously raise more equity, but there are no immediate plans to do so. Whatever happens, we will keep one thing in mind that there will never be a threat to ownership that could create a hostile acquisition situation.

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