Chairman: Pakistani Firm Wants Telespectrum to Grow

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The Resource Group wants to grow Telespectrum, a U.S. teleservices provider it bought recently, and not simply move all its work overseas, the Pakistani firm's chairman told DM News.


Based in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistan, The Resource Group acquired Telespectrum, King of Prussia, PA, in October. Financial details were not made public. ("TeleSpectrum is on Receiving End of Offshore Investment," Dec. 27)


In an e-mail interview with DM News, Zia Chishti, chairman of The Resource Group, said he wants to build Telespectrum's business. He said he expects to see growth in the U.S. teleservices industry, which has been contracting for several years.


"Our business model is to buy mature U.S. customer contact centers and see if we can improve their operations," Chishti said. "We are quite bullish on the sector in the U.S., and we believe that by judicious assistance we can generate above-market returns on our investment."


Formerly a top U.S. teleservices provider, Telespectrum went public in the 1990s and went on a buying spree of contact centers. But the economic downturn in 2001 sent Telespectrum sliding, leaving it with just 10 call centers in 2002. In 2003, Telespectrum returned to private ownership.


According to Dow Jones, Chishti had said The Resource Group would save on labor costs by moving calls from U.S. centers to facilities in Pakistan. However, Chishti said he made no such statement to Dow Jones.


The Resource Group has let Telespectrum offer its clients the option of offshore service, Chishti said. It has not initiated the shifting of work being done in its U.S. call centers to Pakistan.


"No calls are 'shifted' to Pakistan, although I suspect that Telespectrum will increasingly source Pakistani capacity as it adds new business," he said. "So far, customers have taken the enhanced product opportunity with significant enthusiasm."


The Resource Group will continue to look at other U.S. teleservices providers for acquisition or investment opportunities, Chishti said. The company also has a minority investment in Alert Communications, South Pasadena, CA.


"We are very positive on the industry and positive about our ability to build value in our investee companies," he said.


Since the sale to The Resource Group, Telespectrum closed a call center in Huntington, WV, and laid off 70 workers. Eight of those workers filed a federal lawsuit against Telespectrum and The Resource Group, claiming that the companies did not provide them with advance notice of the layoff as required by law.


Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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