New Satyam board must find cash, retain customers and hang onto staff

The newly appointed board at troubled Indian IT supplier Satyam has made restoring confidence in the firm its top priority.

The newly appointed board at troubled Indian IT supplier Satyam has made restoring confidence in the firm its top priority.

But the new directors have alsoreiterated the uncertainty surrounding how much cash the company has.

The Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs has appointed three directors to the firm. They are Deepak S Parekh the Chairman at HDFC Bank, former NASSCOM president Kiran Karnik, and National Stock Exchange director C Achuthan.

Parekh said the company needed to establish how much cash it has available and how much it needs to continue to operate. "We have capital issues that require immediate attention."

Last week interim CEO Ram Mynampati said in a conference that the amount of cash on the balance sheet "is not encouraging".

"We need some assistance as far as liquidity is concerned to pay [suppliers]," added Mynampati.

But Parekh said if the money owed to it all came within the next 60 to 90 days it would have enough reserves topay its bills. But he added that the company has to check that the figures on money owed to it are accurate.

Parekh said, "The top priority of the board is to restore confidence of the customers, the employees, the suppliers and the investors by ensuring business continuity."

More than 14,000 Satyam workers had their CVs on the web within a day of the news breaking that the company's chairman had been cooking the books. Satyam's customers include large organisations such as Ciba, Tesco and Fifa. Parekh described them as a "Who's who of global corporations."

He said the government will appoint more members to the emergency board, which will meet frequently.

Satyam chairman B Ramalinga Raju, who was arrested by Indian police on Friday, admitted last week that he had fiddled the company's books for several years.

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