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8/25/2004
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Indian Software Firm's Shares Begin Trading

Shares of Tata Consultancy Services soared on their first day of public trading.

BOMBAY, India (AP) -- Shares of India's top software firm, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., soared as much as 41 percent in their first day of trading Wednesday.

Tata Consultancy raised $1.2 billion by selling 55.4 million shares in the Indian stock market's biggest-ever initial public offering by a private company. The offer closed Aug. 5 and there were more than seven bids for each share sold.

On the National Stock Exchange, the country's largest bourse, Tata Consultancy's shares soared to 1,198 rupees ($26), up 41 percent from the initial price of 850 rupees ($18).

On the Bombay Stock Exchange, the shares opened at 1,050 rupees ($23), 23.5 percent higher than the offer price.

"We underestimated the enthusiasm of investors and we hope that this issue will give them great happiness in terms of growth," Tata Consultancy chairman Ratan Tata said Wednesday.

On Wednesday, 8.9 million shares were traded on the National Stock Exchange and 3 million shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Tata Consultancy had invited bids in a price range of 775-900 rupees ($16.80-19.50) per share. The final offer price was set at 850 rupees ($18) as most bids were around that level.

"The listing will enhance TCS's profile globally and act as a currency for growth," said S. Ramadorai, the company's chief executive.

The company has been run for decades as a family business. It resisted the temptation to enter the booming stock market in the 1990s and has finally opened up to public ownership in the face of rising competition.

Tata Consultancy's clients include American Express Co., British Telecom PLC, Boeing Co., AT&T Corp., IBM Corp., General Motors Corp., Microsoft Corp., and the state governments of Montana and Pennsylvania in the United States.

The company, part of the $13 billion Tata Group, exported software and related services worth $1.2 billion in the fiscal year that ended March 31. Total revenues, including domestic sales and other income, were $1.55 billion, company officials said.

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