Fairfax-backed Quess Corp hikes stake in Heptagon Technologies

Fairfax-backed business services provider Quess Corp Ltd, which was previously known as IKYA Human Capital Solutions Ltd, has increased its stake in Coimbatore-based Heptagon Technologies Pvt. Ltd to 46% from 26%.

Quess bought an additional 20% stake in the software development firm for $655,000 (around Rs 4.2 crore), it said in a stock market disclosure. It had purchased a 26% stake in Heptagon in January.

Heptagon was founded in July 2015 by Sankarappan Rajesh, Rengasamy Vignesh and Veeraraghavan Vijayramkumar. All three are alumni of PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore. They are also founders of home-services company Helpr Infotech India Pvt. Ltd. Helpr raised $90,000 in funding from Quess Corp in September 2015, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle.

According to another disclosure, Quess Corp, through its Singapore arm, will also invest $645,000 (S$899,000) for a 51% stake in an entity which shall be engaged in general staffing and training services in Singapore. The firm, however, did not provide more details about the entity.

Following an active acquisition strategy, Quess Corp has purchased stakes in close to two dozen companies since 2008. In 2016, it entered Singapore market by acquiring a 64% stake in IT staff augmentation solutions company Comtel Solutions Pte. Ltd.

In November last year, it acquired the facility management and catering business of Manipal Integrated Services Pvt. Ltd (MIS) for Rs 220 crore and an additional stock component.

In an August 2016 interaction with VCCircle, Quess Corp founder and CEO Ajit Isaac had said the company was open to a ‘string of pearls M&A strategy’ and larger transformative deals. The firm has an inclination towards value-based investing, where it sees a clear payback within three-five years of investment, Isaac had said.

The firm has closed six deals since it went public in July last year. Quess Corp’s IPO was subscribed 144 times the number of shares on sale, eliciting the highest investor interest in an Indian public issue in 10 years. The firm is also planning to raise funds through a fresh issue of equity shares.

Quess Corp was acquired by Thomas Cook in early 2013 for Rs 256 crore. Thomas Cook itself was acquired by Prem Watsa-led Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd in 2012. While Fairfax has championed the inorganic growth strategy and transformation of Quess Corp, it has also created a new investment vehicle to invest in India.

In February 2015, Fairfax completed a public issue of shares of a new unit, Fairfax India Holdings Corporation, in Canada, raising around $561 million in the process. This took the total corpus of the vehicle to over $1 billion with Fairfax itself having committed $300 million to it, with other cornerstone investors chipping in with $200 million.