DIALOGUE AIMS FOR R40 MILLION IN ALTX DEBUT

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Call-centre operator Dialogue Group is planning to raise about R40m to grow its business by listing on the AltX in September.

The company says it can more than double in size within a year by opening a new call centre in Johannesburg to handle foreign contracts.

Listing would provide clearer corporate governance, which international clients expected when they entrusted their call-centre operations to a foreign company, said CEO Jason Drew.

"Most of our clients are listed in London or on the JSE and more visible governance will reassure them," he said. "Our clients have also asked to buy a stake in our business because they outsource vital services to us."

Dialogue is SA's largest privately owned call centre operator, with 1000 staff in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Funds raised in the listing will also help it grow by acquiring the in-house call centres that it runs for some of its clients, and leasing the services back to them.

The number of shares to be listed and the asking price will be finalised within three weeks, after the company collates its latest financial results.

The first step will be a private placing with institutional investors and some clients next month, with an AltX debut on September 12.

Dialogue has been privately funded until now. It was growing too big for that funding to be sufficient, Drew said.

A larger shareholder base would help raise capital in the future when growth opportunities were spotted.

"We have a great deal of business in the pipeline because SA is really becoming a destination for serving offshore clients.

"We started three years ago with 20-30 agents and now we have more than 1000.

"We have the management structure and processes in place to double before next year. There is an insatiable demand for professional call-centre activities."

Local clients include MTN, Absa and Edgars, and international clients include Pfizer, Shell and British American Tobacco.

The JSE's GM for marketing and business development, Noah Greenhill, said Dialogue had one of the most comprehensive and promising business plans the AltX committee had seen.

Dialogue is rated a BBB empowerment company by EmpowerDex; 80% of its managers are black. It has a subsidiary called Interaction Call Centres that is 40% held by black-owned Tlhalefang Placements.

Business Day