CAIRO: Egypt’s Raya Technology and Communication is set to sell its call centers to focus on higher returns outside its traditional operations, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
The firm, which sells mobile handsets, runs call centers and provides outsourced IT services, has also approved a cash and share dividend, pending shareholder approval, the company said.
CI Capital analyst Ingy El-Diwany valued the call center operations — which contributed less than 4 percent of revenues in the third quarter — at around LE 84 million ($15 million).
Asked if that figure was accurate, Raya CEO Medhat Khalil said: "I cannot reveal it now, but it is more than that."
Any sale, expected by the end of August, would exclude hosting services Raya provides to other firms, which Khalil said contributed around 10 percent of call center revenue but were "growing very, very fast."
Khalil told Reuters earlier this month that the firm expects 50 percent of its profit to come from non-core operations within five years.
The firm did not identify the potential buyer, but Khalil said it was a multinational firm not yet present in Egypt.
Egypt is using targeted incentives to lure further investment in its burgeoning call center and related outsourcing industry.
CI Capital’s Diwany said the move fitted with Raya’s broader strategy to expand into new fields.
"They are progressing in the real estate development sector, transportation, these are their plans going forward," she said. "But they haven’t revealed any plan regarding expansions in the IT or telecom sectors so we believe it is diverting slightly."
Khalil said the firm would not settle for a minor role in a growing industry.
"Our strategy is to stay in activities where we can be number one and we don’t see that with the multinationals coming to Egypt we can still be number one in this industry," he said.
"We do expect fierce competition during the coming year because Egypt is starting to be a very attractive market."
The firm also said it will distribute a cash dividend of LE 0.25 ($0.05) per share and give investors one share for every eleven held, pending shareholder approval.
It also plans to buy back 500,000 treasury shares at market price to give to selected employees as incentives.
Raya paid a LE 0.21 dividend in 2009. It made a net profit of LE 41.3 million last year, a 23 percent decline on a year earlier.
Its shares ended 2 percent lower at LE 6.23.