Info-tech

EXL in talks to buy Chinese operations of multinational firm

Thomas K. Thomas New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Rohit Kapoor

BPO company readies war-chest for acquisitions in Columbia, US

Business process outsourcing firm EXL Services has readied a war-chest to make acquisitions in multiple locations, including the US, Columbia and China.

The company is already in discussions to take over the operations of a multinational company in China.

Debt-free firm

Speaking to Business Line, Rohit Kapoor, Vice-Chairman and CEO of EXL Services, said, “We are looking at a number of acquisition opportunities. We have $140 million in cash and we are debt free, which means we can borrow up to $200 million if required.”

“Though it is difficult to put a timeline, we haven’t done any acquisitions for the past 12 months so hopefully this year there will be some action on that front,” he said, adding that the company was looking at buys in the insurance and healthcare verticals, which account for 55 per cent of its revenues.

Kapoor declined to name the companies that are potential acquisition targets but said that the company in China is owned by one of EXL’s existing clients. In Columbia, a team is already on ground scouting for partners.

The Nasdaq-listed company has revenues of around $500 million and is aiming to be a billion-dollar company by 2015.

Kapoor said the target could be achieved faster if the acquisitions take place. The company has acquired a number of companies since 2007. The last one was announced on October 2012 when it acquired Landacorp Inc. In May 2011, it had bought finance and accounting outsourcing service provider Outsource Partners International for $91 million.

Beyond call centre

EXL has 21,000 employees and hires 7-8000 new workers every year. Kapoor said the company has moved beyond being a call centre to handling complex business processes. Nearly 20 per cent of the company’s workforce is specialists, including doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants. “It’s become an industry where people can build careers. Complexity has increased, ability to use tools and analytics has become important,” Kapoor said.

EXL has set up its own internal training academies to upgrade the skill sets of new recruits. “Today, we have 5,000 people who have gone through this training and found that the attrition rate among those who get trained has dropped, at the same time productivity has increased,” he said.

Although India remains an attractive destination for BPO firms, most companies are now increasingly looking to expand presence in other geographies. That’s because clients are more comfortable giving deals to outsourcing firms that are geographically closer to their business.

> thomas.thomas@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 16, 2013

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