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Teleperformance Seeks U.S. Buys to Boost Call-Center Growth

Teleperformance SA, a French operator of call centers, rose to the highest price in more than a year in Paris trading after Chairman Daniel Julien said the company was in an “acquisition mood.”

The stock advanced as much as 4.1 percent to 22.63 euros, the highest intraday level since June 15, 2011, and was up 2.8 percent to 22.35 at 4:59 p.m. in the French capital, giving the company a market value of 1.27 billion euros ($1.63 billion).

“We want to continue to strengthen our position in the U.S. market, not by buying more of the same but by entering into some verticals where we are not strong enough,” Julien said in an interview yesterday in Lisbon, where he took part in the inauguration of a new contact center. “In the last two years we didn’t do acquisitions and we are again in an acquisition mood.”

With more than 100 million euros in free cash flow and a 300 million-euro credit line from banks, the Paris-based company has a “comfortable cash position” to make purchases, the chairman said. Teleperformance has 250 contact centers in 49 countries and serves clients such as phonemaker Nokia Oyj and Aeromexico.

“If we make an acquisition it will be end of year or the beginning of next year,” Julien said. “We don’t want to acquire super-big companies, we prefer to acquire, step by step, mid-size companies between 50 million and 100 million in revenue.”

‘Big Machine’

Julien, who opened Teleperformance’s first office in Paris in 1978, said he expects demand to rise as companies increasingly outsource customer support. “We take care of the big machine of the day-to-day interaction with their customer base,” he said.

Teleperformance’s business in the Asia Pacific region and the English-speaking market, which includes the U.S., accounted for 37 percent of revenue in the first half, according to the company.

Teleperformance’s first-half net income rose to 45.3 million euros from 33.3 million euros a year earlier, while revenue gained 6.1 percent to 1.13 billion euros, the company said on July 30. Julien reaffirmed the company’s target for full-year revenue to increase as much as 4 percent.

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