BLS International Services Ltd Management Discussions.

Global technology enabled Government to Citizen (G2C) services landscape

E-Governance provides a platform to integrate solutions and services between Government-to-Government (G2G), Government-to-Citizens (G2C), Business-to-Businesses (B2B) and Government to Employees (G2E).

Government to Citizens services (G2C) is a public service delivery model between the Government as the provider and citizens as the consumer of public services such as social security, licenses and permits amongst others. It empowers the citizens in holding accountability of the public officials and collaborate with the Government in its decision-making process.

United Nations E-Government Development Index (EGDI), published every two years, measures the readiness and capacity of national institutions of the UN member nations, to deliver public services, including G2C services.1 The index tracks the developments in telecommunication infrastructure, human capital and online services to provide a composite score for ranking the member nations. According to the latest survey, the global average EGDI score increased by 9% from 0.55 in 2018 to 0.6 in 2020 with the distribution being broad based.1 However, there exists a huge gap between national levels and the local e-government development, as estimated from a sample of 100 cities, globally.1

The global trends also point out, empirically, the significance of non-financial criteria in improving the ranking thereby highlighting the breadth of opportunities. The online provisioning of services, including G2C, has improved significantly with more than 84% of the countries2 providing at least one service online, thereby taking the global average to 14 out of 20 assessed services online.1 The most common digital services offered globally are registering a new business, applying for a business licence, applying for a birth certificate and paying for public utilities.1

The trend towards increasing enthusiasm in adopting and integrating ICT into service delivery is likely to have received fillip in the aftermath of the pandemic. The success of digital technology in providing citizen centric services such as financial assistance, education, enrolment in schemes amongst others is likely to have nudged Governments and citizens to adapt.

Outlook

The global tech enabled services derive its potential from the low penetration of cutting-edge technologies in services offered by the Government, besides relying on semi-automation which increases the probability of errors, time and cost. Moreover, the citizens are increasingly looking towards technology enablers such as mobile phones and digital services to perform monetary and non-monetary transactions, seek information and grievance redressal.

Outsourcing certain public services to a specialised organisation equipped with the capacity to deliver services without compromising on the quality is highly likely to bring efficiency gains, reduce delivery time and score high on citizen satisfaction.

Indian Government Services Landscape

Over the past five years, India has embarked on a huge transformation in its approach to leveraging technology to connect with its citizens and to deliver public services in an effective and efficient manner. The more prominent use of digital technologies based on digital ID (in the form of Aadhaar), to curb leakages in Indias public services delivery programs, has been especially seen in public distribution system and social transfers.

The successes of the Government of India in implementing a range of digital technology initiatives such as Aadhar, JAM Trinity, Digital Locker, UPI, GST amongst others, have prompted Indian states to develop and deploy various digital applications to offer public services.

In a fast-growing economy such as India, e-governance has become an indispensable service and the country has been building a strong foundation for a digital economy backed by a strong digital infrastructure.

The digital thrust to the economy was provided by two flagship policies of the incumbent government in 2015 – Digital India and Smart city mission. The pandemic accelerated the journey by providing strong tailwinds to the digital economy as organizations shifted to a hybrid work model supported by cloud infrastructure and digitalization, following a nationwide lockdown. The trends towards digital services can also be corroborated by the high uptake in online transactions, penetration of online retail beyond tier 1 and metropolitan cities.

As per latest estimates, there are 676 million smartphone users in the country and more than 750 million internet subscribers3. Digital consumption in India grew by approximately 38% in Q1FY214 and is expected to hit 25GB per user per month by 2025, while the total data traffic is likely to clock 21 EB per month.5

As per NASSCOM, there are more than 80 third-party data centres in India 3, witnessing investments in more than 15 projects annually. 3 Till November 2020, India had an installed power capacity of 375 MW for data centres and is projected to grow three times by 2025 attracting investments worth USD 4.9 billion.

The cumulative effect of strengthening of supply side infrastructure and strong demand growth from citizens signals the likelihood of significant potential and enthusiastic receptivity for online Government services. Furthermore, the expected transition of India towards hub for data storage and consumption coupled with availability of skilled manpower is likely to attract global services towards the country.

Driven by technology, e-Governance is transforming citizen services by providing access to information, integrating various systems and services between government and citizens, thereby empowering and enhancing citizens social, environmental and economic values.

Retail Agent Networks

In a country such as India, where digital ecosystem is still evolving, mere availability of electronic money does not benefit a household or business. The virtual money has to be converted into physical cash for further transactions like consumption and payments. Moreover, cost implication of servicing low income and low volume demography directly by Financial Services Provider (FSP) are huge.

This is where the Agent Network model, comprising of Bank Correspondents/ Bank Mitras, BCNM and retail network of corporate sector fit in enabling technology-oriented citizen services. The agents form the backbone of financial inclusion process as they provide cash-in-cash-out (CICO) services, product sales and customer service, while acting as the face of the service provider. With rollout of PMJDY, agent network model got a fillip in so far as G2P payments have significantly increased transactions at such centres.

The rural economy with nearly 70% of the resident population provides a huge market for citizen centric services owing to more than a thousand social security schemes by Central and State Government. The physical infrastructure runs through a network of over 3.75 lakh Common Service Centre (CSC) with computers and skilled personnel for its operations.6

Global Tourism Industry Overview

Global tourism has been one of the most affected sectors during the COVID-19 crisis due to the mobility restriction and voluntary social distancing adopted by people for hygiene and safety purposes. Travel and tourism constituted 5.5% of the global GDP in 2020, directly contributeing approximately USD 4.7 trillion7.

The medium- and long-term outlook for the tourism industry is encouraging and buoyant. The optimism is derived from availability of multiple choices for lodging and transportation aided by thematic curated experience. Business and special services such as medical tourism is likely to resume its path, having temporarily derailed during the pandemic. The domestic tourism market is also poised to grow due with new avenues such as island tourism on the both sides of the tip of peninsular region in India, vast expanse of natural beauty, rich heritage in arts and culinary experience.

Company Overview

Established in 2005, BLS International Services is a trusted global tech-enabled services partner for government & citizens and is the leading global player in this domain.

Our service portfolio is broadly segregated into visa processing and G2C services. The former caters to the facilitation of international travel such as outsourced visa processing, passport, consular, e-gov, verification and attestation of documents, biometric, e-visa and retail services.

The G2C services spans across segments such as National Identification cards, verification and attestation of documents, public services, Identity Management services, passport renewal and e-passport application.

We harness the power of communication technology and deploy analytical models to enrich the quality of our services as also to scout venues for product diversification. Technology as an enabler, is the thread weaving the fabric of our organisational processes, to cater to our customers and inching towards an omnichannel business model.

Our credentials in diverse markets, marked by varying degree of operational complexity and adherence to regulatory standards thereby consistently improving quality and capability of the organisation, has helped us become the preferred partner for Embassies and Governments across the world.

Operating in 62 countries through 2,325 centres and in the process partnering with more than 36 Governments stands testimony to our claims and credentials earned over a span of 15 years.

We also provide services to state and provincial governments across Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, North America and Middle East, where we have scaled services to reach over 66 countries.

Strategic Initiatives to drive Growth

• Our aim is to build robust technology and processes for efficient execution, to utilize exciting possibilities related to digitalization, last mile penetration and enhanced service experience.

• Established dominant global presence in citizen services on the back of our core strengths, to access international markets and target missions with already related companies. Also, to enter new states in India for government projects and drive growth.

• We continue leadership through organic growth in the core business of visa & consular services by leveraging competence and deepening presence with existing clients by offering greater services thereby increasing wallet share and tapping new geographies & countries.

• Strong focus on balance sheet & cash generation with importance to projects entailing direct collection from customer thus eliminating dependence on government and receivables cycle.

Financial Review (Consolidated)

YoY Change
(Figures in Rs lakhs)
FY 2020-21 FY 2019-20 (in %)
Revenue from Operation 47837.07 78613.54 (39)
EBITDA 3969.92 8341.55 (52)
PBT 4836.52 5482.17 (12)
PAT 5033.19 5237.94 (4)
Networth 45981.28 42854.83 7

Key Ratios

In accordance with the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) (Amendment) Regulations 2018, the Company is providing details of significant changes (i.e. change of 25% or more as compared to the immediately previous financial year) in key financial ratios, along with detailed explanations therefor. The key financial ratios are given below:

YoY Change
Ratios
FY 2020-21 FY 2019-20 (in %)
Debtors Turnover (no. of days) 81.24 67.08 21%
Inventory Turnover (no. of days) NA NA NA
Interest Coverage Ratio (in times)* 55.72 44.47 25%
Current Ratio (in times) 11.84 10.18 16%
Debt Equity Ratio (in times) - - NA
Operating Profit Margin 6.32 (in %)** 9.07 (30%)
EBITDA Margin (in %) 8.30 10.61 (22%)
PAT Margin (in %)** 10.52 6.66 58%
Return on Net Worth (in %) 10.95 12.23 (10%)

* Internet coverage ratio increase due to repayment of loan

** Change in operating profit margin and PAT margin ratio is due to lower scale of operations on account of outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

Operational Highlights

The Company faced Covid 19 associated challenges at the beginning of the fiscal year 2020-21 with operations receiving a temporary jerk. However, the Company leveraged on the moat created by its competitive advantages of asset light model and workforce of talented individuals to sail through the rough waters. The Company was successful in bagging 5 new contracts for visa processing thereby strengthening partnerships.

• Portugal Visa Application Centres in Russia

• Egypt Legalization of documents for the Egyptians

• Canada Accredited by RCMP, Government of Canada to provide biometric services

• Estonia E-residency cards in Rsapan, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil and South Africa

• Brazil Embassy in China

• Thailand visas in India with two centre

• Citizen Services contract by Uttar Pradesh government

Risks and Concerns

Risks Mitigation
Economic Risk: Along with a slow economic growth due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry, with a second wave hitting again in 2021. Economic activity had slowed down due to re-emergence of the Covid-19 infections. The company will need to utilise the policy actions and further government initiatives to buffer the effects of temporary halt to operations and economy across the country.
Travel Ban Risk: With the return of Covid-19 infections across the country, there may be another freeze in global travel. Promotion of vaccination drives and safety initiatives to permit limited travel. Many economies are allowing travel as long as both dose vaccinations are completed. The Company will realign the costs by rationalizing rent and operational expenses in order to reduce the impact on financials as done in the last financial year.
Competition Risk: Global factors increase competitive pressure and might prevent the company from achieving long term goals, market share and margins. As one of the leading players in the visa and tech enabled citizen services space, the Company strives to meet challenges and satisfies customer demands by offering Superior service and has over the years garnered significant brand equity.
Security Risk: The Company has access to sensitive and confidential data as it is a part of consular services industry. Lack of adequate and integrated Information management System could expose and disrupt the operations, thereby causing fall in margins and profitability. The Company has an established robust system from reputed vendors and has in-house operations & maintenance team, certified with global standards to ensures high data integrity.
Human Resources Risk: The inability to retain or acquire competent and experienced employees may hamper the Companys ability to pursue growth strategies effectively. The Company undertakes regular up-skilling programmes to enhance the skills of its employee with a strong focus on employee retention.

Human Resources

BLS International considers Human Resources as a key asset for promoting growth in the company. We take pride in the skills, commitment, competence and energy shown by our people for achieving company goals and succeeding strategically. We have always strived to excel in talent management and succession planning practices, strong performance management and up-skilling initiatives. The Company infuses a lot of rigor and intensity in its People Development Processes and strives to focus on areas that are critical for realizing the Companys vision and objectives. Apart from continued investment in skill and leadership development of its people, the Company also focuses on employee engagement initiatives and drives aimed at increasing the culture of innovation & collaboration across all strata of the workforce.

As at March 31, 2021, the Company employed ~15,000 employees (on-roll and associates). During fiscal 2021, we added ~10,000 new associates. The key aspects of our HR practice include recruitment, training and development, and compensation.

Disclaimer

Certain statements in the MDA section concerning future prospects may be forward-looking statements which involve a number of underlying identified / non identified risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. In addition to the foregoing changes in the macro-environment, global pandemic like COVID-19 may pose an unforeseen, unprecedented, unascertainable and constantly evolving risk(s), inter-alia, to the Company and the environment in which it operates. The results of these assumptions made, relying on available internal and external information, are the basis for determining certain facts and figures stated in the report. Since the factors underlying these assumptions are subject to change over time, the estimates on which they are based, are also subject to change accordingly. These forward-looking statements represent only the Companys current intentions, beliefs or expectations, and any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it was made. The Company assumes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.