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HEROtsc call centres' profits increase to £9m

SCOTTISH call centre company HEROtsc defied tough economic conditions by more than doubling its pre-tax profits to £9 million in its last financial year, as turnover surged from £62.4m to £81.7m.

Chief executive David Turner expects further strong growth in profits and turnover in the current financial year, as recent openings of additional sites at Glasgow and Derby and continuing progress across the business boost financial performance.

He projected double-digit-percentage growth in both turnover and profits in the year to March 2013. And he anticipated even stronger growth in profitability in the 12 months to March 2014, as HEROtsc enjoyed the first full financial year of benefits from the Glasgow and Derby openings.

He expressed determination to keep HEROtsc's jobs in Scotland, and elsewhere in the UK, by aiming to ensure the business was not "commoditised" but rather benefited clients in terms of improving these companies' sales, service, and customer retention.

HEROtsc opened a new contact centre at Atlantic Quay in Glasgow's International Financial Services District in April, after winning a huge contract from existing customer Sky. This contract was moved by Sky from metals-to-property entrepreneur Sir David Murray's Response call centre business.

HEROtsc's Derby centre opened in January.

The £9m pre-tax profit figure unveiled by HEROtsc for the year to March represented a 115% increase on a figure of £4.18m for the prior 12 months.

Mr Turner said he was "delighted" with the results, and highlighted the fact the surge in turnover had been achieved in a difficult economic environment.

The directors of HEROtsc say in their report on the accounts: "Despite the continuing challenging economic environment, the year ended March 31, 2012 reflected a strong performance with on-target revenue and out-performance in profit metrics.

"The results were largely driven by the development of new accounts and strong growth with existing clients, with improved efficiency and economies of scale enhancing underlying profit margins."

A spokesman for Indian-owned HEROtsc, which is headquartered at Larbert near Falkirk, highlighted recent strong growth in the scale of work done for Sky and mobile phone giant Vodafone. Other major customers of HEROtsc, which was created when the Indian-owned Hero conglomerate bought Telecom Service Centres in 2007, include Office Depot and energy company E.ON.

Mr Turner cited "phenomenal" growth in HEROtsc's workforce from about 1800 only four years ago to around 6000. This workforce is split about 50-50 between Scotland and England.

HEROtsc has six sites in Scotland: Glasgow, Larbert, Kilmarnock, Greenock, Dunoon and Rothesay. In England, it has sites at Warrington and Dearne Valley as well as Derby.

Mr Turner noted that, in the two financial years ending March 2012 and 2013, capital investment would total about £11.2m.

He said: "Over the past 12 months we've made significant improvements to the business, both in terms of how we're structured and the quality of product we're delivering... This innovation in our business has continued post-March 2012 and will have a long-term positive impact."

He added: "It is particularly pleasing to see the strong results reflected in job creation."

Remuneration of the highest-paid director, believed to be Mr Turner, was £311,000 in the 12 months to March. In the prior 12 months, the highest-paid director's remuneration was £214,000. Mr Turner noted that executive remuneration reflected top and bottom-line performance.

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