Essar to sell Aegis for $300 million, exit BPO business

The Ruias-led Essar Group on Monday said it would sell its business process outsourcing (BPO) unit, Aegis, to Singapore-based private equity firm Capital Square Partners, and exit its BPO business.

Essar would use $300 million (Rs 1,950 crore) from the deal to retire a part of its debt, at present about Rs 88,000 crore. Last week, two Essar group firms — one in the oil refinery business, the other in steel — missed March deadlines to sell their stakes, adding pressure on the promoters.

The group has been under pressure to sell assets and retire debt. It is also in process of completing the sale of its 98 per cent stake in Essar Oil to the Russian oil major Rosneft-led consortium for $10.9 billion (Rs 70,850 crore). It would get another $2 billion (Rs 13,000 crore) for related infrastructure. 

The company expects to sell Aegis by June, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Aegis, which earned revenues of $400 million from global operations and $100 million from domestic business, looks to double its revenue over three years with investment and customer referrals from its new owners. 

“Our focus would be growth in new markets. The US and the Philippines are big markets. We are focusing on non-linear businesses such as social media, analytics, automation, artificial intelligence, etc. We have already built products in social media and digitisation of customer service. We are going to do a lot more in this space, make investments and partner with start-ups to build this non-linear business,” said Sandip Sen, managing director of Aegis.

The management team, comprising 40,000, would remain with Sen. They would operate out of 47 centres in 10 countries. “There is no change in the management,” said Sen.

Essar’s BPO journey

  • 2004: Essar enters the BPO business with the acquisition of the US-based Aegis Communications Group 
  • 2014: Essar sold Aegis USA Inc, an outsourcing and technology company with operations in the US, the Philippines and Costa Rica, to Teleperformance of Paris for $610 million  
  • Its remaining operations in 10 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UK and South Africa, generated $400 million in revenue from 40,000 employees

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