French group buys Bute contact centre firm

HEROtsc, which employs around a hundred people at its Rothesay site, has been bought by the Paris-based Webhelp Group.
HEROtsc, which employs around a hundred people at its Rothesay site, has been bought by the Paris-based Webhelp Group.

HEROtsc, Scotland’s largest contact centre company, which employs around a hundred people on Bute, has been purchased by Webhelp Group, a Paris-based ‘international customer relationship management group’

The firm, which employs three thousand people across six Scottish sites and a further three thousand in three English locations, was founded in Rothesay as Telecom Service Centres Ltd in 1994.

Webhelp Group operates 24 contact centres in continental Europe and North Africa, has annual revenues of 220m Euros and employs 10,500 people.

It is backed by London and Paris based Charterhouse Capital Partners, which acquired a majority stake in the business in 2011.

HEROtsc, which will change its name to Webhelp TSC following the acquisition, gives the Webhelp Group a major presence in the UK for the first time and the capability to provide English-language customer management to its international client base.

The combined group will be one of the largest independently-owned customer experience organisations in the world, with revenues in excess of 350m Euros, 33 centres serving 25 clients and 16,500 employees globally.

Webhelp TSC will retain its corporate headquarters in Falkirk and continue to be run by its existing long-standing management team, led by chief executive David Turner, chief financial officer Dean Hartley and chief operating officer Andy Doig.

Mr Turner will also sit on the board of the Webhelp Group.

A new marketing office has been established in London, where Webhelp Group founder and co-chairman Frédéric Jousset will be based to support the company’s growth and development in the UK market.

The purchase marks an end to the company’s ownership by the Indian-based HERO Group, which bought TSC in 2007 for £40m. The HERO Group has divested of its ownership to focus on its existing core manufacturing businesses.

Over the last five years, HEROtsc has doubled its UK revenues to £82million and grown staff numbers from 2,000 to 6,000.

The current financial year ending March 2013 will also see considerable growth with revenues in excess of £100m.

The company’s six Scottish sites are in Dunoon, Falkirk, Glasgow, Greenock, Kilmarnock and Rothesay, with English-based customer contact centres in Dearne Valley, Derby, and Warrington.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Over the last five years HEROtsc has achieved considerable progress in Scotland. Across the company’s six Scottish bases it currently employs over 2,500 people.

“Now, with the acquisition by Webhelp, the staff here in Scotland will be part of a huge Europe-wide business providing services for clients around the world.

“I know that the skill and commitment of the staff from Falkirk to Rothesay has been instrumental in the success until now and I look forward to seeing what new heights can be achieved by WebhelpTSC.”David Turner, Webhelp TSC chief executive, said: “This acquisition is excellent news for our people and customers.

“Webhelp is a dedicated customer relationship management organisation and is therefore totally supportive to accelerate our strategies and ambitions to provide customers with the very best multichannel experience. Our management teams share an entrepreneurial drive to push the company forward and achieve new growth across all of our markets.

“The dedication and commitment of our teams in the UK cannot be underestimated and they are a major part of our success. Under our new ownership, we will continue to provide the very best career opportunities and support to our people as we continue to expand our operations geographically and into new service areas.”

Frédéric Jousset, founder and co-chairman of Webhelp Group, said: “HEROtsc is an excellent business with a strong track record of delivering first-class customer experience on behalf of UK and international clients.

“We are very excited about joining forces with the company, its management team and employees, to expand Webhelp’s global footprint and support the company in the UK market with the resources available from our group organisation and investors.”

Sunil Kant Munjal, HEROtsc chairman, commented: “I am very proud of what HEROtsc has achieved during its time with the HERO Group. Sales and margins improved significantly during this period and number of employees also trebled despite economic slowdown.

“We have been committed to growing the business in the UK and are delighted to leave the company in a stronger more sustainable position for their future. We wish the management team, the people at HEROtsc and Webhelp well in their plans for further growth.”

Rohit Chanana, president of strategy and finance at HERO Corporate Service Limited, commented: “As a group, we believe in investing in high growth companies. Our investment in HEROtsc has proven to be extremely successful, seeing the company deliver both phenomenal growth and significant employment in the UK. We wish HEROtsc well for the future.”