Tuesday, 30 June 2009

BPO firm sets up Asia-Pacific headquarters in the Philippines

J. F. de Guzman

MASSACHUSETTS-BASED Stream Global Services, Inc. yesterday opened its second site in the Philippines, which will also serve as its Asia-Pacific headquarters, completing a $12-million (P570-million) investment.

"Our investment in this site reached $12-13 million just including the facility and the technology that we have utilized," Stream Global Services Chairman and Chief Executive Officer R. Scott Murray said at the sidelines of the inauguration of the new site at the annex of SM City North EDSA in Quezon City.

If training costs are included, total investments would reach $20 million by the end of 2009, he said.

Stream SM North, a 1,400-seat facility, is the second call center of Stream Global Services in the Philippines. Its first site in Makati opened in 2008 and employs 600 workers.

"To date, we have more than 800 employees in the Philippines and we’ll have around 3,000 employees including this new site by yearend 2009," Duane Cummins, Stream Global Services regional vice-president for Asia and the Pacific, told reporters yesterday.

Mr. Murray said the work force in the Philippines could reach more than 5,000 in the next 12 months.

Another site will be opened before the end of the year but he declined to disclose additional details.

"We have been here in the Philippines in the last 10 months examining the feasibility and success of the local BPO (business process outsourcing) industry. And so far, we are determined to open a new one but plans are still tentative," he said.

Craig Weinstein, Stream Global Services vice-president for corporate services and government relations, said: "We are considering provincial locations for this new site that we will open this year."

Mr. Murray also said the company is also looking at possible acquisitions to expand its presence in the local BPO industry.

"We are considering the Philippines a strategic hub for offshore services ... The country already has an established call center industry," Mr. Murray noted.

Stream Global Services expects its work force worldwide to reach 200,000 in the next five years, generating at least $10 billion in revenues annually.

Stream Global Services, listed on the American Stock Exchange, employs more than 17,000 workers in 34 service centers in 19 countries.

It describes itself as "a trusted advisor to some of the largest technology, retail, entertainment/media, telecommunications and related companies in the world," with services covering technical support, customer retention, and revenue generation.

Stream Global Services reported $135.6 million in revenues in the first quarter, down from $140.4 million last year. But profits went up to $1.7 million for the three months ending March 31, from $1.2 million in the same period last year.

Aside from the Philippines, the BPO firm is opening new sites in Egypt, Brazil, and Tunisia this year.

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