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Company Snapshot: HCL BPO Services (NI) Ltd

By John Simpson

HCL BPO Services is a subsidiary of an Indian owned parent company which several years ago purchased the call centre premises in Belfast formerly developed by BT.

A further business unit is located in Armagh. In the last five years the company has enjoyed increases in turnover and employment.

Turnover in 2007-8, at £32.5m, was nearly double the level recorded in 2003-4. After a small reduction in 2006-7, turnover increased by 13% in the more recent year.

Operating and pre-tax profits have varied more noticeably. From a marginal loss and a very small profit in the two years ending in 2003 and 2004, operating profits improved in the years ending in 2005 and 2006, reaching £3.2m in 2004-5. In the two more recent years, the operating results showed profits of nearer to 5% of turnover.

As might be anticipated in a call centre business, the wage bill is a high proportion of costs and this is reflected in the wage bill (and related costs) as a percentage of turnover. This ratio rose from just under 50% in the year to mid-2006 to 66% a year later and, more recently, to 69%. The number of employees averaged 1,690 in 2007-8. Earlier in this decade the number was less than 100 and since 2004 employment numbers have increased steadily.

The balance sheet value of shareholders funds has more than doubled in the last five years and recently was estimated to be over £9.5m.

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