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Accent sells BPO operations in Jamaica, new owners have no plans to expand

Published:Wednesday | May 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Colorado-based business processing outsourcing (BPO) company, StarTek, inked a deal to buy Accent Marketing Services' contact centres in Jamaica and the United States.

The transaction is priced at US$16 million and will be financed through a US$50-million secured revolving credit facility with BMO Harris Bank.

Importantly, the deal, which is expected to be closed out by May 31, will bring the Colorado-based firm just shy of its target to add 2,500 call centre seats in 2015 in one fell swoop. Accent has about 2,000 seats and employs 2,300 persons - 700 of which work out of the two locations in Jamaica.

Accent started operations in Kingston in 2006 and expanded to its second location in Montego Bay in 2013.

The deal will also increase StarTek's US$250-million in annualised revenue by approximately a quarter, while the company realises greater income diversification.

"Accent's CEA service offering complements the acquisition of Ideal Dialogue in 2013 and creates a very capable CEA solution platform with added customer analytics capabilities," said Chad Carlson, president of StarTek. "This step is in line with our strategy to engage in a different and more meaningful way with clients while adding higher value service offerings."

Combined, the two companies will have more than 50 clients and nearly 14,000 employees operating in five countries.

On Monday, in a conference call with investors, StarTek's management indicated that they are going to focus on integrating the new business into their operations, rather than seeking to lay out further capital investments towards growing its seat count.

"We remain focused on executing for our clients, converting our strong pipeline to fill existing and new capacity, and quickly integrating Accent to allow us to get back to generating cash and paying down debt," said a statement issued by the company on Monday.

 

ownership change

 

Accent's current annual revenue run rate is approximately US$67 million.

"StarTek management expects the majority of the integration to be completed prior to year end 2015, and that post-integration, the company will be accretive to earnings and reflect a purchase price of approximately 3.5 times EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation)," StarTek added.

The purchase of Accent is at least the second change of ownership of a BPO operation in Jamaica since the start of 2015.

US-based West Corporation sold Jamaica Agent Services Limited to another US firm - Alorica - for US$300,000 ($35 million), as part of a US$275-million deal.

The sale marked West Corp's departure from Jamaica following 12 years of operations at the Portmore Informatics Park in

St Catherine since it bought Teleservices, which went under in 2003.

Alorica also cited its strategy to diversify in order to support its growth initiative.

"Acquiring West's agent

services businesses broadens Alorica's product offerings and market reach, enhances the company's delivery capabilities and allows Alorica to continue its sustained, aggressive growth on a global scale," said Alorica in a statement issued earlier this year.

Last week, West Corp announced that it would fund additional cash to Jamaica Agent Services to satisfy certain payroll obligations following the closing of the deal with Alorica.

camilo.thame@gleanerjm.com