Owing to differences between the promoters and Prem Watsa’s Indian team, Quess Corp IPO has become a dicey affair. On a fully diluted basis, Canadian billionaire Watsa owns around 68% stake in Bengaluru-based business services provider Quess Corp (earlier known as IKYA Human Capital Solutions) with Fairfax. Quess Corp was acquired by the Indian subsidiary of Thomas Cook Limited in 2013 for INR256 crore.
Possibility of IPO depends upon the consent of Thomas Cook board but it is pending as of now. This hindrance has proved to be an opportunity for Teamlease, rival of Quess to go ahead and file for IPO to raise INR500 crore.
Ajit Isaac, Quess Corp chairman & CEO owns around 24.51% stake in the company while 7.45% is held by employees. The staffing firm was reported to be considering bringing its IPO in recent months.
Neither Thomas Cook nor Quess Corp is unveiling the reasons for the standby; however, reports indicate Thomas Cook could be against Isaac gaining more than 25% ownership. Equity owners with more than 25% stake can block board resolutions.
Founded in 2007 by Isaac, Quess Corp has a collective workforce of more than 1 lakh employees with operations based in India, South East Asia, Middle East and North America. Initially it offered human resource services and now it has spread its wings to provide industry-based asset management, global technology and integrated facilities management.
Quess Corp reported a quantum leap in turnover from INR49 crore in FY2008/09 to INR2,161 crore in FY2014/15. Its customers include names like Samsung, IBM and Amazon India. It is yet to be seen if Quess Corp is able to get itself listed along with Thomas Cook. If it does so, it will be the second Indian listing firm for Fairfax.