THE French-owned firm that runs four contact centres in Scotland that it acquired with beCogent has suffered a 30 per cent fall in profits after recording a £2m loss on an investment in a South African call centre business.

The latest accounts for Teleperformance Limited show the company made a £7.4m pre-tax profit in 2013 in what it described as contiuing tough UK economic conditions compared with £10.6m in the preceding year.

The company operates centres in Airdrie, Glasgow, Erskine and Kilmarnock and six in other parts of the UK.

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It acquired the centres in Scotland when it bought Airdrie-based beCogent for £35m in 2010.

Teleperformance said it grew turnover by 5 per cent annually in 2013, to £155m. It highlighted growth in the existing client base, including "continued out-sourcing to offshore locations in Egypt and South Africa".

However, the accounts show Teleperformance recorded a £2m charge after providing that amount against the value of a subsidiary called TP South Africa Trading following a review.

The subsidiary provides call centre services. Teleperformance said: "The gross margin in the year was impacted by the continuing tough UK economic climate."

The company employed an average 6,801 people in the year, up from 6,513 in 2012.

beCogent was founded in 1999 by former John Menzies executive Dermot Jenkinson and Dutchman Ron Peerenboom.