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India's Infosys Coming To U.S.

Indian software company Infosys Technology is nearing a direct listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the first Indian company to do so.

Infosys - whose American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) will trade under the symbol "INFY" - is seeking to raise about $50 million with the 900,000 shares on offer, a fraction of Infosys' $1.87 billion market capitalization.

The listing is likely to land as soon as Thursday. Company officials would only say, however, they target a mid-March Nasdaq listing.

Under the plan outlined in a report to potential investors, each ADR represents one half an Infosystem share.

At the time of the listing's arrangement, the indicated price for the ADRs was $27.88, a company spokesperson said. Since then, on the National Stock Exchange of India, Infosys shares have tracked from 25 to 30 percent higher. As the ADRs represent half an Infosys share, the price indication is likely to change.

U.S. exchange officials will closely watch the issue to see whether the deal will bring other Indian companies stateside to raise funds. The listing may also serve as a gauge for U.S. investor appetite for Indian technology stocks.

"It's very likely other Indian companies will come to the U.S. (to list) in the future," said Phaneesh Murthy, senior vice president. Indian companies have favored a Global Depositary Receipt listing in London.

The software company has been one of the hottest performers on the National Stock Exchange of India.

Infosys shares have jumped from an initial $3 to $3.50 in 1993 to $584 today, adjusted for three 2-for-1 stock splits, company officials said. It's now trading at the equivalent of about $73.

Infosys' revenue totaled about $68 million in fiscal year 1998, ending in March, up some 60 percent against the year-ago period. The company has historically posted revenue growth at those levels, the spokesperson said.

Its main products and services are led by custom application development, the offshore software maintenance business and re-engineering and Web-enabling applications. Some 82 percent of its revenues come from North American operations.

Written By Emily Church, CBS MarketWatch

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