Hero goes ... but jobs stay in Larbert

TSC'Frederic Jousset and David Turner.'For more information see press release'Pic Peter Devlin
TSC'Frederic Jousset and David Turner.'For more information see press release'Pic Peter Devlin

A call centre which employs over 850 people locally has been acquired as part of a £77 million deal.

Workers at the HEROtsc facility in Larbert were told on Tuesday that its Indian owners had sold out to French company Webhelp.

The new owners operate 24 contact centres in Europe and North Africa, and this is its first move into the UK market, providing English language customer management to its international client base.

Now to be known as Webhelp TSC, the Central Business Park premises will remain as the corporate headquarters and continue to be run by its existing management team, led by chief executive David Turner.

Welcoming the move, Mr Turner said: “This acquisition is excellent news for our people and customers. Webhelp is a dedicated customer relationship management organisation and is therefore totally supportive to accelerate our strategies and ambitions to provide customers with the very best multichannel experience.

“The dedication and commitment of our teams in the UK cannot be underestimated and they are a major part of our success. Under our new ownership, we will continue to provide the very best career opportunities and support to our people as we continue to expand our operations geographically and into new service areas.”

The Indian-based HERO Group bought TSC in 2007 for £40 million, almost doubling its investment in six years.

However, in 2009 the future of the Larbert centre was in doubt when a major T-Mobile contract was lost to the Philippines. But within weeks the management secured a deal with media giants Sky and considerable expansion followed.

Over the last five years, HEROtsc doubled its UK revenues to £82 million with staff numbers increasing three-fold to 6000.

Frederic Jouseet, Webhelp founder and co-chairman, said: “HEROtsc is an excellent business with a strong track record of delivering first-class customer experience on behalf of UK and international clients.

“We are very exciting about joining forces with the company, its management team and employees, to expand Webhelp’s global footprint and support the company in the UK market with the resources available from our gruop organisation and investors.”

News of the acquisition was welcomed by Councillor Craig Martin, leader of Falkirk Council. He said: “This is good news for all those involved with HEROtsc and for the area. It consolidates the business and gives it an opportunity to progress.”

First Minister Alex Salmond, who has previously visited the Larbert call centre, said: “Over the last five years HEROtsc has achieved considerable progress in Scotland. Across the company’s six Scottish bases it currently employs over 2500 people.

“I know the skills and commitment of the staff from Falkirk to Rothesay has been instrumental in the success until now and I look forward to seeing what new heights can be achieved by Webhelp TSC.”

The six Scottish centres are in Falkirk, Dunoon, Glasgow, Grenock, Kilmarnock and Rothesay. There are a further three in Dearne Valley, Derby and Warrington.