Spanish business process outsourcing (BPO) provider and contact center Digitex brought in more than $68 million USD in revenue — more than one-third of its global total — in Colombia last year, according to a recent earnings filing by the company.
Globally, Digitex grew by 2.5% in 2016 over the previous year with revenue of $198 million USD, reported the company. It’s worldwide earnings came in at $21.5 millions USD, with its business in Colombia contributing nearly half of that sum. In terms of earnings (EBITDA), Digitex brought in nearly $9.2 million USD in 2016 from its higher-margin Colombian operations.
Last year was a big one for the company. In February 2016, Washington-based asset management firm The Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake in the Spanish BPO. Marco De Benedetti, managing director and co-head of Carlyle Europe Partners, said that his firm was encouraged by the “strong potential for expansion in high growth markets, including Brazil and Argentina, and across the United States.”
The year also featured significant Colombian expansion for Digitex, which has grown to employ more than 6,000 employees in the country — more than one-third of its 17,000-member global workforce — since entering the market in 2006. In 2016, the firm continued to integrate its acquisition of Medellín company Microcolsa and opened a new office in the central Colombian city of Armenia.
At the same time, Digitex also continued to grew in two other other mid-sized cities, Manizales and Ibagué. With more than 4,000 and 1,000 workers in each location, respectively, Digitex is now one of the largest private employers in both Manizales, which has more than half a million people in its metro area, and Ibagué, a city that is also home to around 500,000 people.
While many multinational companies that come to Colombia focus on the big three cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali, Digitex has increasingly targeted these lesser-saturated cities and says that this has been a successful strategy.
In an interview last year, Digitex’s former Colombian head of operations Salvador Vega said that there are numerous advantages of being outside the biggest markets. For one, there are simply fewer large companies in these locations, so employees don’t move around as much and strain the hiring department with high levels of turnover. “In Bogota and Medellin this is very likely to happen,” said Vega. “They don’t hesitate on changing jobs.”
Vega, who is now back working for Digitex in Madrid, said the company has also been attracted to places like Manizales and Ibaque because “they are university towns” with a high number of workers who “fit the profile for our activities.” The company has leveraged this opportunity further by establishing relationships with local schools that help connect them with qualified students looking for work while they pursue their degrees.
The company also maintains a presence in Bogotá, where it has its administrative headquarters, as well as Medellín and Cali. In addition to Colombia, Digitex also has operations in its home country of Spain, Mexico, Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala and the United States.