ICD takes full control of Advantage BPO operation

ICD Group Holdings Limited has acquired the remaining 50 per cent shareholding in sister companies Advantage Communications Inc, ACI, and ADV Communications Jamaica Limited, and now has full control of the business process outsourcing operations.

ICD first acquired a 50 per cent stake in Canada-based ACI in 2013 with a view to gaining a foothold in the fast growing BPO market.

The partners set up a 50-seat call centre in Kingston later that year under the name ADV Communications.

Now, having acquired full ownership of the operations ICD Group, Chief Operating Officer Vikram Dhiman reckons that growth of its BPO business will come from the better use of technology to diversify into chat, email and social media services, improving of the companies skill set as well as greater focus on the Spanish-speaking markets. The cost of the acquisition was not disclosed.

“The strategy is based on a couple of opportunities we see in Jamaica as well as in the BPO business sector worldwide. Technology has a big role to play in the sector and so it requires investment in artificial intelligence to offer differing capabilities while reducing costs,” Dhiman told the Financial Gleaner.

Already, ACI/ADV has acquired majority shareholding in First Kontact LLC, a company domiciled in the state of Nevada, United States, which operates a contact centre based in Spanish-speaking Tijuana, Mexico. The Tijuana operation, which employs 400, adds language diversity to ICD’s offerings.

“A lot of our clients have requested multiple languages. In Canada we have English and French; in Jamaica we have English, and in Mexico we have both English and Spanish,” he said.

Eyeing buildout

Dhiman is also eyeing the build-out of another 1,800 seats across all three centres, which would push the group’s employment numbers to up from 1,000 by 2022. Roughly 300 of seats are expected to come on stream in the short term in Jamaica from an expansion of ADV’s client base.

Mexico, according to Dhiman, will follow its own growth through its targeting of mid-tier clients in the financial services, transportation and telecommunication sectors on the west coast of the United States.

“That market is expected to grow and we are on boarding new clients as we speak. We believe the capability that we have will serve the three sectors,” the COO said.

ICD Group, which deals in manufacturing, trading and distribution of specialised commodity products, was founded in 1952 as a global merchant for bulk chemicals.

The company has since diversified into a major international conglomerate with a presence in over 50 countries worldwide through agents and representative offices.

Its service offerings include warehousing, quality assurance, logistics and customer service virtually in North America, Canada and Mexico through an extensive network of global offices and agents.

Dhiman says the BPO division contributes 12 per cent of group revenue.