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France's Teleperformance expects limited growth in 2024

Published 06/03/2024, 16:48
Updated 06/03/2024, 17:55
© Reuters.
TEPRF
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By Augustin Turpin

(Reuters) -Teleperformance on Wednesday forecast limited growth in the year ahead, after the French office services and call centre company missed its full-year revenue target for 2023.

"All the major players have significantly reduced their forecasts," Teleperformance CFO Olivier Rigaudy said on a call with journalists, adding: "we're cautious".

The company predicted in 2023 that up to a third of its activities would be automated within the next three years, but investors have questioned this optimistic outlook

Shares in Teleperformance slumped to a 7-year low last week after Swedish rival Klarna touted a results boost as a result of its own Open AI-powered customer service assistant.

Rigaudy said the share price plunge was the result of a misunderstanding of how artificial intelligence (AI) is integrated into Teleperformance's solutions.

Klarna's tool was "conversational", he said, adding that this was something that Teleperformance has had for many years.

Teleperformance, which launched a 500 million euro ($545 million) share buyback programme in August did not rule out more in the future.

"If we were to be massively undervalued for reasons that seem to us to be largely exaggerated ... the group will continue its programme, which is an aggressive share buyback programme, up to two-thirds of its cash flow", Rigaudy said.

Teleperformance is targeting organic sales growth of around 2% to 4% this year, a 10-20 basis point (bps) increase in recurring EBITA margin and an increase in net free cash flow.

It trimmed its full-year like-for-like revenue growth target three times last year, from 10% to around 6% by November, citing adverse macroeconomic conditions in the United States.

The company said its revenue rose 5.1% to 8.35 billion euros in 2023 on an organic basis, while its EBITA margin rose 40 basis points to 15.9%, largely in line with its target.

($1 = 0.9167 euros)

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