Big expansion plans for ECS in Asia
Witnessing a strong growth in India with the recent addition of AirAsia to manage its cargo operations, ECS Group is working hard and aiming high with more focus on expansion in Asia. During a recent visit to India Bertrand Schmoll, Chairman and CEO of ECS Group, talks about the group’s network expansion and adding more clients from around the world, particularly from Asia. Schmoll is accompanied by the group’s India managing director Rajendra Dubey. Excerpts from Jasleen Kaur’s interview with Schmoll and Dubey. How has been the growth of ECS this year? Give us a sense of last year’s revenue and what is your target for this year? Schmoll: The growth has been tremendous. Last year, the revenue was almost Rs 100 crore. In this financial year (2015-16), we have targeted to almost double. We have set a target of Rs 300 crore. What are your further expansion plans in India? Schmoll: In India, we have many plans for development. First of all, India is extraordinary because people fly more and more. Therefore, there is a strong future as there is a development of change, people, technology and of course, cargo. We are satisfied with our portfolio in the Indian market because we have created a company, rather than buying a company. The development has been great. So, for me, India is one of the top countries on top of the list to work because right now you cannot expect growth in Europe due to recession. Dubey: We foresee very strong contribution of India operations in comparison to global presence in ECS. And we are satisfied with the growth. Today, it is about 5-6 percent of the total (global) business. Interestingly, foreign airlines generally outsource their cargo operations and it is becoming a trend in India as well. Europe has been under stress for quite some time; add to this China, the world’s second-largest economy, has seen growth rate declining. What is your assessment and how do they impact your business? Schmoll: It has in fact helped the business in Europe due to decline in Euro. But the business in India has not declined. We are one of the fastest growing companies. We have taken the representation of an airline also recently. So what is your strategy when you acquire a GSA in a country? Schmoll: First, we always look for a new country when we enter into any GSA because it is a new implementation and then we propose airline to expand along with its network. When we choose an airline for GSA, of course, portfolio of an airline is important. And then management is important because we are giving services to the airline and management is the key. And we see that airline brings new contacts for us. So there is double synergy when we make acquisition. We have seen consistent growth for ECS year after year both for your India operations and for your global business; so what is the main reason behind such a good growth? Schmoll: First of course, acquisitions bring growth. It is not only about buying company which is quite complicated; the main point is to integrate the company and thus, bring value to the company. Bring new contacts, new airlines is the main point. I think, our strategy of building one group under which people work together and trying to bring value to one another, is the good model. And the growth comes from here. Where do you see ECS in the next five years? What is your vision? Schmoll: I want to see ECS growing completely in India. We look forward to expand in Asia, at least in 10 countries in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, etc. I hope we will be successful in this. We have reached $1.1 billion of turnover this year and we are hoping to achieve tremendous growth in the years to come. And the growth will come from Asia.