The shares of Quess Corp Ltd increased nearly 60% this Tuesday, when they debuted on BSE and NSE after the record-breaking oversubscription of its Initial Public Offering (IPO) earlier this month. The stock opened at Rs. 499, against the offer price of Rs.317 (fixed at the upper end of its Rs 310-317 price band) and hit a high and low of Rs 508 and Rs 480, respectively, before finally closing on Rs. 503 – a premium of 58.68%. The company’s performance has made it to the top of the stellar IPOs that have made their debuts in this year, and of the 12 companies that have gone public to raise about 8,182 crores, 10 have reported listing gains.
The Bangalore-headquartered staffing firm, the public offer of which was open for subscription from June 29 to July 1, raised Rs 400 crores and was oversubscribed nearly 145 times, as approximately 102 crores shares were subscribed as opposed to the 70 lakh shares issued during the IPO. The company’s IPO is being hailed as the biggest overall subscription in the last nine years, and the fifth largest, in percentage terms, since 2000. The company’s strong performance, in terms of growth, revenue, net profit and a wide scope to reduce margins are being considered the reasons behind the response. The IPO saw enthusiastic responses from all categories, with the institutional category being oversubscribed 59%, non-institutional category (comprising of high-net worth individuals) being oversubscribed 392 times, and individual investors category at 33 times. Ajit Isaac, Chariman and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Quess Corp, was quoted saying, “We are very happy to see investor support. It is a positive sign for the industry and sector. While Fairfax Holdings’ entry into the company two years ago is a positive, the fundamentals have been built for years which have helped the company deliver consistent growth. The IPO proceeds give us the resources to multiply our growth going forward.”
Earlier this year, Quess Corp’s peer TeamLease also went public, and was oversubscribed 66 times. The shares of the same went down by 5.5%, to close at Rs 1,038 on the same trading day. Started in 2007, Quess Corp has over 120,000 employees and above 1,300 clients with operations in India, North America, Middle East and South East Asia. The majority of the revenue (about 85%) comes from India, where the company has presence in 26 cities – with 47 offices. Thomas Cook (India) holds 69.55% stake in Quess Corp Ltd., where as Ajit Isaac owns 26.4% (post-IPO stake). Thomas Cook is in turn owned by the Canadian billionaire Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (67.82% stake).
The strong valuation and investment that companies in the staffing and recruitment solutions sector are witnessing is indicative of the accelerated pace of realization, that the entire corporate needs tangible and efficient solutions to fully utilize its biggest resource – the people it employs. The times have never been more opportune to address the complex and multi-lateral issue of integrating the human resource element in the core philosophy and ideals of an organization. These developments are reflective of the changes and dynamics of the HR industry, which finds itself addressing traditional challenges like retention, efficiency, performance management, employer-branding etc using non-traditional and contemporary knowledge and integrating new-age technological tools in the process. It would be safe to assume that this momentum, which puts the HR function in the spotlight, and reiterates the value and importance of the most critical resource in any organization, isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, and will continue to evoke strong encouragement, financially and otherwise, from varied stakeholders.