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HCL BPO's Europe plans

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, NOV. 3. HCL BPO, the $55million business process outsourcing outfit of HCL Technologies, is proposing to make its Belfast, Northern Ireland, Contact Centre into a hub for European operations.

The centre was initially set up by BT (British Telecom). HCL had bought a 90 per cent stake in the centre sometime in December 2001.

The purchase pact then had a clause that provided for HCL buy-out of the remaining 10 per cent stake from BT at the end of three years.

HCL will acquire before December this year BT's 10 per cent stake. Once this is done, the Belfast Contact Centre will become a fully owned outfit. Parleys are already on with BT on the price, according to Ranjit Narasimhan Chief Operating Officer, HCL Technologies BPO Services Ltd.

When it acquired it in December 2001, the Belfast centre had about 350 employees. Today, the number had grown to 1,100, Mr. Narasimhan said at a press conference here today.

Apart from meeting BT's needs, the centre has other clients including a large retail chain in the U.K., an automobile insurance company and a software products company.

Barry Gardiner, Minister for Economy and Education, Northern Ireland, who is leading a delegation to seek investments in Northern Ireland, held a meeting with HCL BPO officials in Chennai today. The ostensible objective of the meeting was how to take forward the HCL engagement in Northern Ireland.

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