Feature

Acquiring Growth

With attractive valuation and robust financials, Quess Corp seems like a perfect opportunity for investors to latch on to

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The excitement around staffing firm Quess Corp was palpable in 2016, when it announced its intention to list on the bourses. The Bengaluru-based company’s initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed 144x — the most successful issue in the past nine years. Even on July 12, 2016, when it made its touched a high of Rs.509 before closing at Rs.503. The stock listed up 59% from its offer price of Rs.317.

Since its stellar debut, the stock has continued its upward movement, reaching a record high of Rs.1,300 on June 13, 2018. The reason for such enthusiasm around one of India’s leading integrated service providers is its exceptional growth in revenue and net profit. These have increased at a CAGR of 44% and 79% respectively between FY13 and FY18. 

Quess has been an outlier because of its inorganic growth strategy — a path few companies dare to tread. The staffing firm has made 23 acquisitions and investments in the past 11 years, gaining around 1,900 clients. 

Despite the company’s inorganic play, its debt-to-equity ratio is just 0.4x. It has been able to keep its debt under control by funding its expansion drive through equity. The company had raised  Rs.4 billion through the IPO route and another Rs.8.74 billion through institutional placement programme (IPP). Some portion of “the cash generated from IPP is still lying with them, which is also a big asset for the company,” says Sumit Pokharna, deputy vice president, Kotak Securities. 

Turnaround Kings

Founded by Ajit Isaac and now promoted by him and Fairfax Financial Holdings through its Indian subsidiary, Thomas Cook India, Quess operates in ten countries — across North America, the Middle East and South East Asia. With employee strength of 284,000, it offers a range of services in staffing, skilling and company infrastructure management.

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