Were getting close to our customers

Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
Americans seem to be betting high on offshore BPOs. The first Indian pureplay BPO company to list at New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), WNS proved to be the most promising debut from an IPO this month. For investors like Warburg Pincus, it could prove to be the second killing after Bharti Televentures. Indias second largest BPO company (according to Nasscom) started in 1996 as a captive unit of British Airways. Later, private equity firm, Warburg Pinus acquired a majority stake from British Airways and WNS expanded its services to other customers including Air India, Virgin Atlantic Airways, FirstMangus Financial, IndyMac Bank and Tesco. Having raised about $224 million in an initial public offering at $20 per ADS, WNS CEO Neeraj Bhargava chats with Pragati Verma soon after he rang the bell at NYSE . Excerpts:

WNS Holdings is the first Indian pureplay BPO company to list Why did you choose to list outside India Any plans to list in India later

Our customers are there. Its more important for us to build a brand in the US.

And a NYSE listing can provide you with the prestige, branding and liquidity. Hopefully, we will build a bigger brand and see our relations strengthen with current and prospective customers. No, we have no immediate plans to list in India. Our focus is on deepening our client relationships and maximizing shareholder value over the life of a clients relationship with us.

Are valuation models for offshoring BPO firms different from the offshore technology firms

Markets have been choppy and investors have been a little more than careful while investing. Still we have seen a confidence in our business model. Since we are the first from our industry, job of selling our business model was a lot harder. But ours is a high-growth industry and we have some definite plans to grow the company.

Investors obviously look at the high growth our industry is seeing and that we are the leading company in this segment. They look at our differentiators, our deep industry expertise and our global management team.

According to some estimates, Warburg Pincus investments of $ 40 million in WNS grew ten-fold with this IPO.

Warburg Pincus alone can talk about it. Investors like Warburg Pincus and British Airways are reducing their stakes. Warburgs stake will come down from 64.7 % to 53.6 %.

Did recent thefts and misappropriation of sensitive data in India that hogged limelight recently pose any question marks on the offshoring models future Was security a big concern among investors

We got a wide range of questions from investors and security was only a part of it. Investors were more keen to know about our plans to grow our business; our profits and other fundamentals. Between 2003 and 2006, our revenue grew from $54.6million to $202.8million, representing a compound annual growth rate of 54.9%.

You mentioned part of your proceeds will go into acquisitions. Are you looking at some big-ticket acquisitions

Part of our net proceeds will go into acquisitions to develop our businesses and delivery platforms. We have no big acquisitions on our plans right now and are looking at select acquisitions to supplement our existing capabilities. In the last four years, we have made three acquisitions. In 2003, we acquired Town& Country Assistance, which we subsequently rebranded as WNS Assistance now called WNS Auto Claims BPO. Next, we acquired the health claims management business of Greensnow Inc and this year, came Trinity Partners.

Besides strengthening relations with your clients, should we expect to see changes in your operations too

Its business as usual from our operations point of view but hopefully with a deeper relationship with customers.