Centric’s Indian-UK LPO joint venture founders

Plans to create a pan-Asian legal process outsourcing (LPO) outfit between Indian law firm Fox Mandal, Hinduja Group and the UK’s Centric (now Williams Lea LPO) have dissolved due to strategy differences.

The deal was announced in January following the signing of a memorandum of understanding for Fox Mandal’s outsourcing arm FMIT and Hinduja’s outsourcing arm HMIT to hold a 30 per cent stake each and Centric to hold the remaining 40 per cent interest outfit.

“We wanted to have global bases for the outsourcing work, not just in India, and so the joint venture gradually faded,” said Centric managing director Chris Raybould, who is now managing director of Williams Lea LPO following Williams Lea’s acquisition of Centric last week.

Fox Mandal partner Som Mandal said: “While in the talks process, we realised that it was not the right move for us at that time.”

Mandal went ahead with launching the firm’s own LPO, Legal Circle.

He said Centric agreed to work with Legal Circle on a case-by-case basis, so that if Centric had any work in India, it would go through Legal Circle and vice-versa.

Mandal did not discount a rekindling of the relationship. “It didn’t take off then, but something still might work out,” he said.

The LPO market in India is becoming increasingly competitive, with IT giant Infosys entering the scene earlier in the month.

Forrester Research has tipped the Indian LPO market to reach $4bn (£1.93bn) by 2015 from the $80m (£38.6m) it is valued at today.