Balmer Lawrie eyes private sector for increasing ticketing business revenue

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Kolkata, Sep 22 (IANS) City-based public sector firm Balmer Lawrie & Co Ltd is looking at increasing the share of revenue from private sector clientele for its travel and vacations business following a flat earnings from the vertical in the last fiscal, a company official said on Thursday.

The official also said that the company is hopeful to finalise a strategic partner for its loss making subsidiary Transafe Services Ltd which is engaged in the business of container leasing and logistics services.

“During 2015-16, the company’s earnings from travelling business remained almost flat, primarily due to falling aviation fuel price and austerity measures from the government. Government business still constitutes a huge chunk of the ticketing business. We need to diversify and increase the share of private sector,” said company’s Chairman and Managing Director Prabal Basu.

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The diversified company is over dependent on government and public sector enterprises for its ticketing business as around 90 percent of its ticketing business comes from public sector. The company is facing challenges with delayed payments from public sector.

“We are following up with the government on delayed payments,” Basu said on the sidelines of company’s annual general meeting here.

Speaking about its acquisition of Vacation Exotica, made in 2014, he said: “The acquisition is yet to add to the bottomline, but we are hopeful of a turnaround by 2017-18. The vacations business is more rewarding and we will focus on making the business profitable.”

KPMG has been engaged to advise on the impact of Goods and Service Tax on the company’s business, he said.

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Elaborating on its subsidiary which reported a loss of Rs 4.9 crore against Rs 6.79 crore previous year in 2015-16, he said: “We are hopeful that we should be able to turnaround the business. We are in discussion for a business partner for Transafe.”

The subsidiary’s turnover stood at Rs 65.22 crore in 2015-16, a growth of 13.4 percent over the year ago period. In case a divestment materialises, “Balmer Lawrie is unlikely to be a minority holder”, he said.

The public sector company plans to invest Rs 400 crore over the next two-three years, of which, Rs 60-70 crore will be invested in the current fiscal.

Basu said the proposed multi-modal logistics hub which saw a cost overrun of Rs 290 crore against last year’s estimate of Rs 220 crore was scheduled to be completed by first quarter of 2018 and this year, around Rs 50 crore was expected to be pumped in this project.

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