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Consolidation & Growth of the German CMS Market: A Quick Look at Regiocom

On 10th March, German energy BPS and ITO provider Regiocom completed the acquisition of customer management services (CMS) vendor SNT Deutschland to create a €230m provider focused on the German market. Here I take a closer look at the deal, and at the wider picture of consolidation and growth currently taking place in the German CMS market.

An Energy BPS Specialist

Regiocom GmbH is a private BPS firm created in 1996 as a 50% subsidiary of E.ON and fully owned by the management since the end of 2014. Its core speciality is the German energy market supporting energy suppliers, network operators, and metering companies with end-to-end business services from software development and data storage to billing, dunning, market data exchange, and customer care for end users. It has close to 2.3k employees of whom 1.7k people are in front office services based in delivery centers in Magdeburg (HQ), Berlin, Halle (Saale), Salzwedel, Dessau, Kaiserslautern, as well as in Vienna, Austria, and Sofia and Varna, Bulgaria. Its 2016 revenues were approximately €153m, of which ~a quarter are from E.ON.

Acquisition of SNT Deutschland to Expand into Telecoms & BFSI Sectors

The acquisition of SNT Deutschland from investment firm Livia Group will bring Regiocom client base and industry expertise in the telecoms sector (2/3 of the SNT business), as well as financial services and insurance, and leisure and travel sectors. SNT was part of KPN telecom and currently has ~3.3k employees and 2016 revenues of ~€80m. It has centers in Berlin, Essen, Chemnitz, Neubrandenburg (two centers), and Potsdam.

With the acquisition, Regiocom will venture outside the highly regulated German energy sector where it has achieved significant vertical integration with its clients and will create a more CMS focused provider. The combined company will boast a wide onshore delivery network and a small nearshore operation in Bulgaria, where it has recently expanded into a second location in Sofia.

German CMS Market Consolidation Continues

This latest deal comes on the back of a string of acquisitions by global CMS leaders in the German market in the last few years. Since the beginning of 2016, major M&A activity includes:

  • Webhelp buying Stuttgart-based 270 people contact center Ocon in February 2017
  • Convergys’ acquisition of a top five onshore vendor buw for €123m in the summer of 2016
  • Capita Europe buying 3C DIALOG with ~400 staff in April 2016, bringing its onshore centers to 13.

A market with nearshore delivery opportunities limited to certain Eastern European and Baltic locations, the German CMS industry relies on onshore presence challenged by relatively high labor costs and unionization. Until recently the market was distributed among multiple domestic players such as buw, walter services, Bosch services, SNT, 3C Dialog, as well as established global vendors such as Arvato, Teleperformance, Sitel, SYKES, and Transcom.

With the merger, Regiocom will be among the top seven German CMS players by revenue. That said, the expanded Regiocom will operate in the second largest European CMS market, which NelsonHall estimates at $3,765m (2017) growing at 4.4% CAAGR through 2020, which is above the growth rates of France, U.K., Italy, Benelux, and Nordic states.

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