Webhelp Group, one of Europe’s largest providers of customer experience services, has outlined plans to consolidate the market with a programme of strategic acquisitions.
The Group, which opened new UK headquarters in London earlier this year, said it planned to invest up to €100m over the next two years to build further scale and specialisms, with a primary focus on the UK market. The group’s strategic goal is to become the number three within its sector in Europe by 2015.
The announcement follows a successful €275m refinancing of the Group’s funding facilities, led by its private equity backers Charterhouse Capital Partners.
Earlier this year, the Group signalled its intent to consolidate the fragmented customer experience market with the acquisition of Webhelp UK, one of the UK’s largest operators, from India’s Hero Group.
Webhelp manages customer relationships across traditional voice and email channels as well as fast-growing areas of social media and webchat. Its customers include some of Europe’s leading brands, such as Virgin Mobile and Boursorama Banque.
It was established in France in 2000 by co-Chairmen Frédéric Jousset and Olivier Duha. In 2011, Charterhouse backed the €340m acquisition from its previous owners, French private equity group Astorg Partners.
Today, the Group generates revenues of approximately €400m and operates a total of 35 centres in seven countries. It employs some 17,000 people.
Its UK division, where it employs 6,000 people across 10 sites and works for brands such as Sky and Vodafone, recently reported revenue growth of 36 per cent in the 12 months to 31 March 2013 to £111m.
Frédéric Jousset, Webhelp Group founder and co-chairman, said: “The way in which consumers want to engage with the brands they buy is changing at an alarming rate, driven by new technology, new lifestyles and new expectations. The battle for brand loyalty is won or lost on the quality of a customer’s experience across every channel, not just a call centre or email.”
He added: “Having developed an integrated customer experience offering for our clients, we see tremendous opportunity to build real international scale to support new and existing clients internationally, with a mixture of onshore and offshore locations.
“The Group’s refinancing gives us the capital structure and funding facilities to accelerate that strategy through a highly targeted acquisition programme.”