SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM TO
COMMISSION FILE NUMBER 001-33089
EXLSERVICE HOLDINGS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
320 Park Avenue,
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class:
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered:
Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ý No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ý
As of June 30, 2019, the aggregate market value of common stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $2,189,025,465.
As of February 25, 2020, there were 34,364,691 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding, par value $0.001 per share.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Part III incorporates information from certain portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the fiscal year end of December 31, 2019.
ITEM 1. Business
ExlService Holdings, Inc. (“EXL”, “we”, “us", "our" or the "Company"), incorporated in Delaware in 2002, is a leading operations management and analytics company that helps its clients build and grow sustainable businesses. By orchestrating our domain expertise, data, analytics and digital technology, we look deeper to design and manage agile, customer-centric operating models to improve global operations, drive profitability, enhance customer satisfaction, increase data-driven insights, and manage risk and compliance. We serve customers in multiple industries, including insurance, healthcare, banking and financial services, utilities, travel, transportation and logistics, media and retail, among others. Headquartered in New York, we have more than 31,700 professionals in locations throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, the Philippines, Colombia, Australia and South Africa.
We operate in the business process management (“BPM”) industry, and we provide operations management and analytics services. As described below, effective January 1, 2020, we realigned our operating and reportable segments, but the presentation in this Annual Report, including the discussion in the next two paragraphs, refers to the structure in place prior to such realignment.
Our eight operating segments are strategic business units that align our products and services with how we manage our business, approach our key markets and interact with our clients. Five of those operating segments provide BPM or “operations management” services, which we organize into industry-focused operating segments (Insurance, Healthcare, Travel, Transportation and Logistics, Banking and Financial Services, and Utilities) and one of the operating segments is a “capability” segment (Finance and Accounting) that provides services to clients in our industry-focused segments as well as clients across other industries. In each of these six operating segments we provide operations management services, which typically involve transfer to the Company of business operations of a client, after which we administer and manage those operations for our client on an ongoing basis. Our remaining two operating segments are Consulting, which provides industry-specific digital transformational services related to operations management services, and our Analytics operating segment, which provides services that focus on driving improved business outcomes for clients by generating data-driven insights across all parts of their business. Together, our operations management and analytics services support our customers’ digital transformation agendas, through our differentiated strategy and approach that we call Digital Intelligence. Digital Intelligence combines our capabilities across domain and data to create context that enables us find opportunities for our clients to improve performance, enhance customer experiences and increase profitability. Our digital professionals then orchestrate domain expertise, process excellence and advanced digital technologies in the right mix to deliver significant business outcomes.
We present information for the following reportable segments:
Travel, Transportation and Logistics,
All Other (consisting of our remaining operating segments, including our Banking and Financial Services, Utilities and Consulting operating segments).
Effective January 1, 2020, we made certain operational and structural changes to more closely integrate our businesses and to simplify our organizational structure. We now manage and report financial information through our four strategic business units: Insurance, Healthcare, Analytics and Emerging Business, which reflects how management will review financial information and make operating decisions. These business units will develop client-specific solutions, build capabilities, maintain a unified go-to-market approach and be integrally responsible for service delivery, customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. In line with our strategy of vertical integration and focus on domain expertise, we have integrated our Finance & Accounting and Consulting operating segments within each of the Insurance and Healthcare operating segments based on the respective industry-specific clients. Finance & Accounting and Consulting Services to clients outside of those industries, will now be part of our newly formed business unit and reportable segment ‘Emerging Business’. In addition, we integrated our former Travel, Transportation and Logistics, Banking and Financial Services, and Utilities operating segments under “Emerging Business” to further leverage and optimize the operating scale in providing operations management services.
Our new reportable segments effective January 1, 2020 are as follows:
This change in segment presentation will not have any effect on our consolidated statements of income, balance sheets or statements of cash flows. The revised presentation will be reflected in our subsequent periodic and annual reports.
Operations Management Services
Our operations management services, which we provide from our Insurance, Healthcare, Travel, Transportation and Logistics, Finance and Accounting, Banking and Financial Services, and Utilities operating segments, typically involve the transfer to EXL business operations of a client such as claims processing, clinical operations, or financial transaction processing, after which we administer and manage those operations for our client on an ongoing basis, or in case of consulting, consulting services related to transformation services, including digital transformation services. We use a focused industry vertical approach to manage our business and to provide a suite of integrated BPM services to organizations in the insurance, healthcare, travel transportation and logistics, banking and financial services and utilities industries in addition to providing finance and accounting and consulting services across these industries as well as to clients in other industries like manufacturing and media among others.
The key differentiators and salient features of our BPM services include our agile operating and delivery model utilizing domain and data expertise and process excellence, the Digital EXLerator FrameworkTM , our ability to deploy a Business Process-as-a-Service (“BPaaS”) delivery model, business process automation (including robotics), consulting-driven digital transformation and our industry vertical focused approach. The Digital EXLerator FrameworkTM, is our integrated approach to operations management which enables us to drive better customer outcomes by using advanced automation (such as robotics, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence), process optimization (lean six-sigma), along with smart workflow, driving better orchestration of human talent and technology.
While the majority of our operations management services are provided to clients using client-owned or licensed technology platforms, we also deliver our services across clients and industries using a BPaaS delivery model. The BPaaS delivery model includes the provision of a technology platform along with process management services. The service offering typically requires lower capital outlay, is faster to implement and is priced based on the number of transactions or usage by the client. These services may use standardized and shared technology and operational delivery infrastructure enabling us to leverage technology and infrastructure investments across multiple clients.
The operating segments providing operations management services are described below:
Our Insurance operating segment serves property and casualty insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, annuity and retirement services companies. We provide BPM services related to business processes in the insurance industry such as claims processing, subrogation, premium and benefit administration, agency management, account reconciliation, policy research, underwriting support, new business processing, policy servicing, premium audit, surveys, billing and collection, commercial and residential survey, and customer service using the Digital EXLerator FrameworkTM, robotics and advanced automation. We provide insurance policy administration and digital customer acquisition services using a BPaaS delivery model through our LifePRO ® and Liss platforms in order to help clients administer life insurance, health insurance, annuities and credit life and disability insurance policies. We also provide subrogation services to property and casualty insurers using a BPaaS delivery model and our proprietary Subrosource ® software platform, the largest commercial end-to-end subrogation platform. Subrosource ® integrates with client systems, manages recovery workflow, increases recoveries and reduces costs.
Our Healthcare operating segment primarily serves U.S.-based healthcare payers, providers and life sciences organizations. We provide BPM services related to Care Management, Utilization Management, disease management, payment integrity, revenue optimization and customer engagement directly addressing the market need for improved healthcare outcomes, reduced claims, medical and administrative costs, and improved access to the healthcare system in the healthcare market.
We offer BPaaS, software-as-a-service ("SaaS") and platform BPM services designed to serve the healthcare industry as well as proprietary technology platforms, robotics and advanced analytics. EXL’s CareRadius® and MaxMC® applications connect payors, providers and members with critical clinical information, and automates a payor's operations to increase efficiencies across all aspects of care management, including behavioral health.
Our Travel, Transportation and Logistics operating segment primarily serves clients in the travel & leisure and transportation and logistics industries, including less-than-truckload (LTL), truckload and intermodal logistics sectors. We provide BPM services related to business processes in corporate and leisure travel such as reservations, customer service, fulfillment and finance and accounting. Our operating model encompasses analytics driven transformation aimed at cost reduction and customer experience enhancement. In addition, we have expertise in processing transportation and logistics transactions, including supply chain management, warehousing, transportation management and international logistics services using advanced automation, including robotics process automation. For companies in the transportation and logistics sector, we provide sales, billing, collection, claims management, revenue management, accounting freight audit and payment and logistics engineering services. We are focused on developing new integrated solutions in this operating segment in the areas of customer experience and finance and accounting operations by combining our domain, data and digital capabilities. Our advanced analytics-based inside sales and revenue leakage prevention solutions are designed to deliver a direct topline impact to our customers.
Our Finance and Accounting (“F&A”) operating segment provides finance and accounting BPM and Digital Transformation services across an array of F&A processes, including procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, hire-to-retire, record-to-report, regulatory reporting, financial planning and analysis, audit and assurance, reconciliations, treasury and tax processes. This operating segment provides services across the five industry verticals within operations management as well as to clients in other industries like manufacturing, business services, media and retail among others. We partner with our clients to provide digital transformation services to help them simplify and scale their F&A processes, drive customer centricity, improve controls and compliance, reduce operating costs and deliver rich data driven insights to their businesses. We do this by meaningfully combining our deep capabilities in finance transformation, risk management, advanced analytics and intelligent automation, including Artificial Intelligence ("AI") and machine learning.
Our Banking and Financial Services operating segment offers a comprehensive range of BPM services across the spectrum of the banking and financial services industry, including residential mortgage lending, retail banking and credit cards, commercial banking and investment management. Our operating models encompass process re-engineering with improved customer experience and cost reduction. We integrate front, middle and back-office operations as one seamless experience with a digitally enabled customer journey and experience framework. Leveraging our deep end-to-end expertise within analytics, we are able to enhance the effectiveness of our client operations. EXL uses robotics process automation and proprietary business intelligence tools to innovate workflow management, transaction monitoring, and management information and reporting to enhance transparency in regulatory and management reporting. In addition to banks and financial services firms, EXL works with financial technology companies to supplement their marketing and sales operations, support their processing and underwriting as well as enhance their servicing and collections efforts.
Our Utilities operating segment services offers BPM services related to enhancing operating models, improving customer experience, reducing costs, shortening turnaround time and simplifying compliance for our clients. By leveraging our “Model Office” framework, we combine domain expertise, customer-centric operations management practices, robotics and advanced analytics capabilities with cloud-based billing and customer relationship management platform, digital services, industry-specific products, business process automation and robotics. We remain focused on bringing new analytics-led integrated solutions in this operating segment that are designed to deliver higher operational efficiencies and improved end customer experience for our clients.
Our Consulting operating segment provides industry-specific digital transformational services, targeting select industries and functions across Insurance, Healthcare, Travel, Transportation and Logistics, Banking and Financial Services and Finance and Accounting. Our services are designed to address contemporary problems across the aforementioned domains, embracing the digital and analytics revolution, to deliver business models that help our clients realize their business and innovation goals and improve their strategic competitive position. Our digital consulting offerings include leveraging design thinking to help improve customer experience, using lean models to drive process excellence and using agile delivery models to implement digital technologies and interventions like customer experience transformation, advanced automation and robotics and enterprise architecture. Our approach to consulting is focused on delivering goals across growth and scalability, customer experience improvement, cost and efficiency as well as scale. We are focused on building and delivering industry solutions in insurance, healthcare and other verticals to drive end-to-end transformation across the service delivery value chain, spanning contact center automation, content extraction capabilities and onboarding, underwriting, claims processing, policy administration and finance, audit and compliance transformation.
We also offer a full range of finance transformation services to the CFO suite, including finance platform modernization and implementation, finance process transformation and digitization as well as governance, risk and compliance support. Our Finance Transformation practice works with CFOs and Chief Audit Executives to make their finance functions more efficient by improving the management of their risk and compliance efforts, enhancing performance, reducing cost, and increasing automation.
We are a “Strategic Digital Transformation Partner” for our clients in analytics. By leveraging our full suite of analytics capabilities, our Analytics services focus on driving improved business outcomes for our customers by generating data-driven insights across all parts of our customers’ businesses. Our teams deliver predictive and prescriptive analytics in the areas of customer acquisition and life cycle management, risk underwriting and pricing, operational effectiveness, credit and operational risk monitoring and governance, regulatory reporting, and data management. We use a spectrum of advanced analytical tools and techniques, including our in-house Machine Learning (“ML”) and "AI" capabilities. We leverage and deploy our proprietary ML and AI solutions to help deliver improved business outcomes throughout our client's value chain and to address a range of complex industry-wide problems including:
Advanced natural language understanding and deep learning models to address unstructured text and data,
Computer-assisted vision and deep learning-based image analytics to analyze photos and videos, and
Advanced pattern recognition techniques to identify consumer behavior triggers embedded in multiple formats of data.
Our Analytics team comprises over 4,500 professionals, including data scientists, data architects, business analysts, statisticians, modelers, industry domain specialists and data experts.
We help our customers leverage internal and external data sources, enhance their data assets, identify and visualize data patterns, and utilize data-driven insights to improve their effectiveness. Our Analytics services for our customers include:
•Identification, cleansing, matching and use of structured, semi-structured and unstructured data available both internally to our customer’s organization and externally;
•Deployment of analytics professionals and data scientists who utilize analytics tools, cutting edge statistical techniques and methodologies in ways designed to help customers better understand their data to generate actionable business insights;
•Design and implementation of services enabling data visualization and management reporting enabling business users to segment, drill-down, and filter data; and
•Integration of data insights and predictive models in the real-time decision making processes to drive measurable business impact.
Our Analytics engagements span both project work and longer-term arrangements where EXL provides ongoing analytics modeling and services for a year or more. We utilize domain and industry knowledge related to the business problem being considered to support these Analytics engagements across our various competencies including Data management, Advanced Analytics/AI, Functional, Data-enabled Marketing Solutions and Strategic Data Assets.
Our Analytics services support: (1) retail banking, commercial banking and investment banking and management for the banking and financial services industry; (2) actuarial, claims, informatics, CRM and marketing analysis, medical cost and care management, payment integrity and operational effectiveness in the healthcare industry; (3) marketing and agency management, actuarial, servicing and operations, customer management, and claims and money movement in the insurance industry; and (4) marketing analytics in the retail and media industries.
On July 1, 2018, we completed the acquisition of SCIO pursuant to an Agreement of Merger dated April 28, 2018 (the "Merger Agreement"). SCIO is a health analytics solution and services company serving healthcare organizations including providers, health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, employers, health services and global life sciences companies. SCIO provides Payment Integrity services mainly in the area of claims overpayment and abuse and waste related to healthcare spending. The acquisition of SCIO broadened our spectrum of healthcare capabilities to deliver more complex reimbursement optimization, subrogation as well care and risk and quality management to the healthcare industry. SCIO provides scalable predictive analytic solutions and services that transform data into actionable insights, helping healthcare organizations identify opportunities and prescribe actions to drive operational performance and address the healthcare waste epidemic while improving care quality industry.
EXL is a business process management company providing operations management and analytics services and is a “Strategic Digital Transformation Partner” for our clients by deploying our Digital Intelligence framework. We help our clients become digitally intelligent by leveraging capabilities across data, advanced analytics, digital operations and domain expertise to deliver business outcomes across customer experience, efficiency and revenue.
Expanding our services in large addressable markets
We continue to focus on the insurance, healthcare and banking industries, which are large markets with high demand. We will also continue to build our client portfolio in Finance and Accounting and within our other business segments in an opportunistic manner. As we can continue to refine our focus, we are pursuing opportunities in other industries. We are uniquely equipped to support clients across every step of the digital transformation value chain with capabilities across Data and Data management, Business intelligence and Analytics, Digital Transformation Consulting, Digital Integration and Operations. Demand for these services is expected to exhibit strong growth in the next several years.
Integrating our capabilities
Our deep domain expertise has been central to our market differentiation. We are also well-positioned as one of the few players in the market with a full suite of analytics, strong operational excellence, technological platforms and digital toolkit to create integrated solutions and services under one brand.
Recruiting, Training, and Retaining the Most Talented Professionals
We have an integrated talent management framework that employs active collaboration between our recruitment, capability development and business human resource functions. We deploy innovative methods to recruit, train and retain our skilled employees. We focus on recruiting the right talent and developing them further on relevant competencies through our learning academies, rigorous promotion standards, client and industry specific training and competitive compensation packages that include incentive-based compensation. We are able to leverage shared resources across our services through personnel who have skillsets applicable to a wide variety of BPM services. We also have specialized experts in various domains, who develop specialization in our chosen industries and subject matters through our training academies. Our employee relations function ensures that we understand the pulse of our employees, and are able to swiftly respond to specific needs and concerns as they arise, through a central team of experts.
Cultivating Long-term Relationships and Expanding our Client Base
We continue to maintain our focus on cultivating long-term client relationships as well as attracting new clients. We believe there are significant opportunities for additional growth within our existing clients, and we seek to expand these relationships by:
Increasing the depth and breadth of the services we provide across new client business, functions and geographies;
Offering the full suite of EXL services that includes operations management (including consulting; digital transformation) and analytics; and
Supporting our clients’ geographic expansion leveraging our global footprint.
We intend to continue building a portfolio of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies in our focus industries that have the most complex and diverse processes and, accordingly, stand to benefit significantly from our services. We also intend to cultivate long-term relationships with medium-sized companies in our focus industries leveraging our BPaaS and technology offerings.
Expanding our Global Delivery Footprint and Operational Infrastructure
We intend to further expand and invest in our network of delivery centers to service our clients. In 2019, we expanded our operations centers in India, South Africa and in the Philippines.
Pursuing Strategic Relationships and Acquisitions
We intend to continue making selective acquisitions in our focus industry verticals as well as to add to our capabilities. We consider selective strategic relationships with industry leaders that add new long-term client relationships, enhance the depth and breadth of our services and complement our business strategy. We also pursue select partnerships, alliances or investments that will expand the scope and effectiveness of our services by adding technology assets and intellectual property,
adding new clients or allowing us to enter new geographic markets. In 2018, we launched our Connected Intelligence Partnership programs to expand our technology and innovation ecosystem to accelerate client business outcomes from digital transformation. The Connected Intelligence program has enhanced our go-to-market opportunities with new programs for emerging innovators and startups, digital technology partners, industry solution partners and alliances and associations to deliver leading digital solutions and services to its clients.
BPM service providers work with clients to transfer their key business processes to reduce costs, improve process quality, handle increased transaction volumes and reduce redundancy. BPM providers can enable organizations to enhance profitability and increase efficiency and reliability, permitting them to concentrate on their core areas of competence. BPM is a long-term strategic commitment for a company that, once implemented, is generally not subject to cyclical spending or information technology budget fluctuations. Increased global demand, cost improvements in international communications and the automation of many business services have created a significant opportunity for BPM providers with offshore delivery capabilities, and many companies are moving select office processes to providers with the capacity to perform these functions from overseas locations. We believe the demand for BPM services will be primarily led by industries that are transaction-driven and that require significant customer interactions.
Companies are increasingly looking to BPM service providers to provide a suite of analytics services, including statistical tools, models and techniques to clean, organize and examine structured and unstructured corporate data. This data is then used by companies to generate specific business-related analysis and insights into their business and prospects. The enhanced generation of business data across multiple formats, substantial reduction in data storage costs, growing enterprise demand for data-driven and real-time decision making and availability of sophisticated analytics tools have enabled companies to overcome a local shortage of specialized analytics talent and benefit from global labor markets. BPM service providers who can develop industry-specific analytics expertise are especially well poised to benefit from this global trend.
Sales, Marketing and Client Management
We market our services to our existing and prospective clients through our sales and client management teams, which are aligned by industry verticals and cross-industry domains such as finance and accounting and consulting. Our sales and client management teams operate from the U.S., Europe, Australia and South Africa are supported by our business development teams.
Our sales, marketing and business development teams are responsible for new client acquisitions, public relations, relations with outsourcing advisory companies, analyst relations and rankings, lead generation, knowledge management, content development, campaign management, digital or web presence, brand awareness and participation in industry forums and conferences. As of December 31, 2019, we employed approximately 150 sales, marketing, business development and client management professionals with the majority of them based in either the U.S. or Europe. Our professionals generally have significant experience in business process services, technology, operations, analytics and consulting.
EXL generated revenues from approximately 470 clients and 480 clients in 2019 and 2018, respectively (with annual revenue exceeding $50,000 per client). We have won 28 and 50 new clients during 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Our top three, five and ten clients generated 15.2%, 22.0% and 36.1% of our revenues, respectively, in 2019. Our top three, five and ten clients generated 16.4%, 23.7% and 37.2% of our revenues, respectively, in 2018. No client accounted for more than 10% of our total revenues in 2019 or 2018. Our revenue concentration with our top clients remains consistent year-over-year and we continue to develop relationships with new clients to diversify our client base. We believe that the loss of any of our ten largest clients could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Business-We derive a substantial portion of our revenues from a limited number of clients.”
Our long-term relationships with our clients typically evolve from providing a single, discrete service or process into providing a series of complex, integrated processes across multiple business lines. For operations management services other than consulting, we enter into long-term agreements with our clients with typical initial terms of between three to five years. Consulting engagements have typical terms of six to twelve months. Agreements for Analytics services are either project based or have shorter initial terms, which are typically between one to three years. However, each agreement is individually negotiated with the client.
Competition in the BPM services industry is intense and growing. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Business-We face significant competition from U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based BPM and information technology (“IT”) companies and from our clients, who may build shared services centers to perform these services themselves, either in-house, in the U.S. or through offshore groups or other arrangements.” Many companies, including certain of our clients, choose to perform some or all of their customer-facing and back-office processes internally, utilizing their own employees to provide these services as part of their regular business operations. Some companies have moved portions of their in-house customer management functions offshore, including to offshore affiliates. We believe our key advantage over in-house business processes management is that we provide companies the opportunity to focus on their core products and markets while we focus on service delivery and operational excellence. We compete primarily against:
large global companies with BPM solutions and delivery capabilities in offshore locations, such as Genpact Limited, WNS (Holdings) Limited, Accenture, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services;
niche providers that provide services in a specific geographic market, industry or service area, such as analytics or healthcare; and
leading accounting and management consulting firms.
We compete against these entities by working to establish ourselves as a service provider with deep industry expertise, strong client relationships, leading industry talent, superior operational and process capabilities, differentiated technology and BPaaS solutions, and sophisticated analytic and consulting capabilities, which enable us to respond rapidly to market trends and the evolving needs of our clients.
Our intellectual property consists of proprietary and licensed platforms, software and databases, trade secrets, methodologies and know-how, trademarks, copyrighted software, operating procedures and other materials and patents and pending patent applications. We have numerous registered trademarks and logos registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and certain foreign jurisdictions and several pending trademark applications, as well as, three issued patents. We consider many of our business processes and implementation methodologies to be trade secrets or proprietary know-how and confidential information. To provide our services, in addition to our own proprietary tools, we use software and data licensed by us or our clients from third parties. We also use SaaS services from third parties pursuant to contracts with us or our clients. In particular, we have developed several strategic partnerships with robotics and process automation software companies to facilitate our offering of automation to our clients.
Clients and business partners sign nondisclosure agreements requiring confidential treatment of our information. Our employees are required to sign work-for-hire and confidentiality covenants as a condition to their employment.
Our technology group and various business lines develop proprietary tools that we deploy to support services for our clients. We typically retain ownership of any pre-existing tools. While working on client engagements, we also often develop new tools or methodologies, including robotics and process automation software or “bots,” and we endeavor to negotiate contracts that give us ownership or licenses to use or demonstrate such tools for other clients.
Information Security and Data Privacy
Overseen by management and our board of directors, we maintain a comprehensive program that focuses on information security, cyber security, data privacy and the protection of our clients’ and their customers’ confidential personal and sensitive information. We have invested in our information security and cyber security posture and protocols to support compliance with our contractual obligations and the laws and regulations governing our activities. These investments include people, processes and technology intended to protect information throughout its life cycle.
EXL focuses on implementing and maintaining cyber security capabilities to identify, protect, detect, respond and recover from cyber threats, incidents and attacks; reduce vulnerabilities and minimize the impact of cyber incidents. We emphasize compliance and institutional governance built upon and supported by policies and processes, tools and technologies, and knowledge and awareness training. EXL takes into account guidance from relevant regulatory and governance bodies, including but not limited to the Cyber Security Framework of the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the U.S. Department of Commerce, in designing controls and policies regarding security for sensitive and confidential information of EXL's clients, employee, partners, third parties and EXL’s owned products and services. EXL has undertaken measures designed to comply with new privacy regulations, including the European General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (“GDPR”) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), as well as other national and state laws or regulations.
According to the needs of our clients as well as the regulatory requirements of the geographies in which we operate, many of our delivery centers are certified related to information security and health and environmental safety, such as the ISO 27001:2013 standard for information security management systems, the ISO 22301:2012 for Business continuity management systems, the ISO 9001:2008 standard for quality management system, the ISO 14001 for environmental management standards and the OHSAS 18001:2007 standard for occupational health and safety management systems. Certain delivery centers and processes are also compliant with HITRUST CSF™ and certified for other similar requirements. Some of our centers in the Philippines and South Africa and certain client processes in other operation centers in India are compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) version 3.2 or higher requirements. We engage independent firms to conduct General Controls and business process (SOC1and SOC2 - Type II) assessments on managed hosting environments that we offer in our Insurance and Healthcare verticals. EXL also engages third parties to conduct vulnerability assessment and penetration testing of its technology environment. For disaster recovery purposes, many of our key technology applications are hosted in ISO 27001 certified, SSAE18 SOC1 compliant Tier 4 data centers that are proactively monitored and managed 24 hours a day.
We have procured from leading technology providers and other third parties a robust, wide area network and international telecommunications capacity to support our global business operations. Our business continuity management plans include redundant locations, network infrastructure, power sources and other utilities to mitigate and manage operational risks as well as redundant, trained talent across our service delivery locations. These plans are documented, as well as tested on a periodic basis.
As of December 31, 2019, we had a headcount of approximately 31,700 employees, with approximately 21,200 employees based in India and approximately 6,900 employees in the Philippines. We have approximately 2,400 employees in the U.S, 200 employees in the U.K., 200 employees in Colombia, and 400 employees in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and 400 in South Africa and other geographies. None of our employees are unionized. We have never experienced any work stoppages and believe that we enjoy good employee relations.
Hiring and Recruiting
Our employees are critical to the success of our business. Accordingly, we focus on recruiting, training and retaining our professionals. We have developed effective strategies that enable an efficient recruitment process. We have over 110 employees dedicated to recruitment. Some of the strategies we have adopted to increase efficiency in our hiring practices include the utilization of online voice assessments and a centralized hiring center. Our hiring policies focus on identifying high quality employees who demonstrate a propensity for learning, contribution to client services and growth. Candidates must undergo numerous tests and interviews before we extend offers for employment. We also conduct background checks on candidates, including criminal background checks, where permitted and as required by clients or on a sample basis. In addition, where permitted and required for client services, we perform random drug testing on the workforce on a regular basis.
We offer our employees competitive compensation packages that include incentive-based compensation and offer a variety of benefits that vary by facility, including free transport to and from home in certain circumstances, subsidized meals and free access to recreational facilities that are located within some of our operations centers. Our attrition rate for employees who had been with EXL for more than 180 days was 33.2% and 31.8% for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. As competition in our industry increases, our turnover rate could increase. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Business-We may fail to attract and retain enough sufficiently trained employees to support our operations, as competition for highly skilled personnel is intense and we experience significant employee turnover rates.”
Capability Development and Training
We maintain a strong focus on capability development, with an emphasis on digital transformation and domain expertise. Our talent development strategy is comprehensive, aligned to overall business strategy. Our talent strategy includes developing expertise around the specific technologies, tools, and frameworks required to successfully execute projects for our clients in a digital economy. We create thought leaders with high industry acumen who are better able to address our clients’ requirements. We also provide a career -linked learning path to our employees from new hires to tenured employees to senior levels of leadership.
Our domain academies focus on building domain expertise through certifications and specialization. These include our Insurance Academy, Travel Academy, Finance and Accounting Academy, Healthcare Academy, Analytics Academy, Utilities Academy, Consulting Academy and Digital Academy. These domain academies focus on achieving excellence and developing skill sets that can be used across the different domains. Our training includes behavioral and functional components to enhance and ensure job readiness as well as also boosting ongoing productivity and effectiveness. We also focus on
promoting better diversity and inclusion through our training programs. We have a global presence catering to the specific learning requirements of each geography. We provide learning through our blended learning methodology comprising of classroom, on the job coaching and technology led learning.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The world we work and live in is full of diversity and powered by innovation. We believe success in such a world will come through an environment that embraces diversity of thought. We believe that pursuing our corporate social responsibility goals, including charitable and civic activities and environmental, health and safety initiatives, will make us a stronger, more impactful organization to work for and to deliver exceptional results for our clients.
Diversity & Inclusion
Our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) philosophy is to create an inclusive work environment and leverage diversity to enable the organization to effectively capitalize on the differing views and contributions that each employee brings to the workplace. Nearly our entire workforce is trained on D&I.
We are particularly focused on creating an impact at the senior leadership level. EXL’s overall gender diversity is at 38% with over 12,000 female employees across the globe, and our Operating Committee, has 33% gender diversity.
In addition, we maintain a supplier diversity program in the United States designed to provide opportunities for qualified diverse businesses.
Women in Leadership
EXL is committed to providing a supportive working environment and career opportunities for our female employees.
EXL has several programs to promote career advancement, including leadership development for women at the mid to senior level, a separate program to improve the retention and engagement of new mothers through employee friendly parental leave and similar policies, and our WE (Women at EXL) platform, which is designed to enable women at EXL advance their career and achieve professional growth through discussion, collaboration, networking, training, development and mentorship opportunities.
Charitable and Community Activities
EXL finds meaningful ways to help the communities in which we operate. We contribute to positive social change by engaging in charitable programs to help transform lives. On our own and in partnership with our clients, we support education initiatives, disaster relief efforts, and global health initiatives. These programs align with the expectations clients have of service providers as well as benefit our other stakeholders.
Environmental, Health and Safety
We strive to continuously improve in the area of environmental, health and safety initiatives (“EHS”), with a focus on reducing our carbon footprint, energy conservation, waste minimization, and green infrastructure and operations. We believe that these measures will also help us in sustainable development efforts. Where practical, we seek to integrate EHS with our business activities, focusing on conducting our activities in an environmentally responsible manner and ensuring the health and safety of the Company’s employees, contractors, customers, visitors and the communities where the Company operates.
Our operations sometimes are subject to rules, regulations and statutes in the countries where we have operations and where we deliver services as a result of the diverse and complex nature of our service offerings. More often, however, our clients contractually require that we comply with certain rules and regulations applicable to their specific industries.
We are one of the few service providers that can provide third-party administrator insurance services from India and the Philippines and are currently able to provide such services in the U.S. for 49 states and 48 states (including the District of Columbia), respectively. Additionally, our subsidiary in the Philippines is able to provide utilization review services in the U.S. for 43 states (including the District of Columbia). Further, through domestic subsidiaries, we are licensed or otherwise eligible to provide third-party administrator services in all states within the U.S. as well as utilization review, insurance
adjuster, and insurance producer services in select states. We are required to maintain licenses in various jurisdictions or require certain categories of our professionals to be individually licensed in service areas such as debt collection, utilization review, workers’ compensation utilization review, insurance adjuster, and telemarketing services. Our facilities in the Philippines as well as one domestic subsidiary are accredited by the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), both leading healthcare and education accreditation organizations. We continue to obtain licenses and accreditations required from time to time by our business operations.
Our operations are also subject to compliance with a variety of other laws, including U.S. federal and state regulations that apply to certain portions of our business such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Health Information Technology for Economics and Clinical Health Act of 2009, GDPR and the UK Bribery Act- as well as state and local laws, such as the CCPA. We also must comply with applicable regulations relating to health, financial and other personal information that we handle as part of our services.
We benefit from tax relief provided by laws and regulations in India and the Philippines from time to time. Regulation of our business by the Indian government affects us in several ways. During the last several years, we either established or acquired new centers that are eligible for tax benefits under the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 (the “SEZ Act”). The SEZ Act introduced a 15-year tax holiday scheme for operations established in designated special economic zones (“SEZs”). Under the SEZ Act, qualifying operations are eligible for a deduction from taxable income equal to (i) 100% of their export profits derived for the first five years from the commencement of operations; (ii) 50% of such export profits for the next five years; and (iii) 50% of the export profits for a further five years, subject to satisfying certain capital investment requirements. The SEZ Act provides, among other restrictions, that this holiday is not available to operations formed by splitting up or reconstructing existing operations or transferring existing plant and equipment (beyond a prescribed limit) to new SEZ locations. We anticipate establishing additional operations centers in SEZs or other tax advantaged locations in the future. See “Item 1A - Risk Factors - Risks related to the International nature of our business - Our financial condition could be negatively affected if foreign governments introduce new legislation, reduce or withdraw tax benefits and other incentives currently provided to companies within our industry or if we are not eligible for these benefits.”
We also benefitted from a corporate tax holiday in the Philippines for some of our operations centers established there over the last several years. The Company registered with the Philippines Economic Zone Authority (“PEZA”) and is therefore eligible for income tax exemption for four years. This exemption incentive may be extended in certain instances upon fulfillment of certain conditions. Following the expiry of the tax exemption, income generated from centers in the Philippines will be taxed at the prevailing annual tax rate.
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The SEC maintains a website (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically through the EDGAR System. You may access the information filed by us with the SEC by visiting its website.
We also maintain a website at http://www.exlservice.com. Information on our website does not constitute a part of, nor is it incorporated in any way, into this Form 10-K or any other report we file with or furnish to the SEC. We make available, free of charge, on our website our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, proxy statements, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. Our website also includes announcements of investor conferences and events, information on our business strategies and results, corporate governance information, and other news and announcements that investors might find useful or interesting.
ITEM 1A. Risk Factors
Risks Related to Our Business
We earn a substantial portion of our revenues from a limited number of clients.
We have earned and believe that we will continue to earn in the near future or foreseeable a substantial portion of our total revenues from a limited number of large clients. The loss of or financial difficulties at any of our large clients could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Moreover, the loss of a major customer could also impact our reputation in the market, making it more difficult to attract and retain customers more generally.
Our results of operations could be adversely affected by economic and political conditions and the effects of these conditions on our clients’ businesses and levels of business activity.
Global economic and political conditions affect our clients’ businesses and the markets they serve, which are increasingly becoming more interdependent. The domestic and international capital and credit markets have been experiencing volatility and disruption for the past several years, resulting in uncertainty in the financial markets in general, which includes companies in the banking, financial services, healthcare and insurance industries to which we provide services. Although there has been recent improvement in general economic conditions in these industries, there can be no assurance that the economic environment will continue to improve. Our business largely depends on continued demand for our services from clients and potential clients in these industries. If there is a significant consolidation in these industries or a decrease in growth due to any adverse development or consolidation in other industry verticals on which we focus, such events could materially reduce the demand for our services and negatively affect our revenue and profitability. In addition, we currently earn, and are likely to continue to earn, a significant portion of our revenues from clients located in the U.S. The U.S. economy has weakened in late 2019 and may continue to do so in early 2020 due to the impact of potential trade disputes with China or other countries, including related to tariffs and softening investment spending. Any resultant decrease in business and consumer spending, could result in a decrease in demand for our services, particularly our analytics and consulting services, thus reducing our revenues. Weakness in the U.S. labor market could also adversely affect the demand for our services. Other developments in response to economic events, such as restructurings or reorganizations, particularly involving our clients, could also cause the demand for our services to decline.
Market disruptions may limit our ability to access financing or increase our cost of financing to meet liquidity needs, and affect the ability of our customers to use credit to purchase our services or to make timely payments to us, resulting in adverse effects on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our client contracts contain certain termination and other provisions that could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Consistent with industry practice, most of our client contracts may be terminated by our clients without cause and do not commit our clients to provide us with a specific volume of business. Any failure to meet a client’s expectations could result in a cancellation or non-renewal of a contract or a decrease in business provided to us. We may not be able to replace any client that elects to terminate or not renew its contract with us, which would reduce our revenues. The loss of or financial difficulties at any of our large clients would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
A number of our contracts allow the client, in certain limited circumstances, to request a benchmark study comparing our pricing and performance with that of an agreed list of other service providers for comparable services. Based on the results of the study and depending on the reasons for any unfavorable variance, we may be required to make improvements in the services we provide or reduce the pricing for services on a prospective basis to be performed under the remaining term of the contract or our client could elect to terminate the contract, which could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Many of our contracts contain provisions that would require us to pay penalties to our clients and/or provide our clients with the right to terminate the contract if we do not meet pre-agreed service level requirements or if we do not provide certain productivity benefits. Failure to meet these requirements or accurately estimate the productivity benefits could result in the payment of significant penalties to our clients which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Some of our contracts with clients specify that if a change of control of our company occurs during the term of the contract, the client has the right to terminate the contract. These provisions may result in our contracts being terminated if there is such a change in control, resulting in a potential loss of revenues. In addition, these provisions may act as a deterrent to any attempt by a third party to acquire our company.
We may fail to attract and retain enough sufficiently trained employees to support our operations, as competition for highly skilled personnel is intense and we experience significant employee turnover rates, which may result in loss of revenue and an inability to expand our business.
Our success depends to a significant extent on our ability to attract, hire, train and retain qualified employees, including our ability to attract employees with needed skills in the geographic areas in which we operate. Our industry, including us, experiences high employee turnover. There is significant competition for professionals with skills necessary to perform the services we offer to our clients. Increased competition for these professionals could have an adverse effect on us. A significant increase in the turnover rate among our employees, particularly among our higher skilled workforce, would increase our recruiting and training costs and decrease our operating efficiency, productivity and profit margins, and could lead to a decline in demand for our services. High turnover rates generally do not impact our revenues as we factor the attrition rate into our pricing models by maintaining additional employees for each process. However, high turnover rates do increase our cost of revenues and therefore impact our profit margins due to higher recruitment, training and retention costs. High employee turnover increases training, recruitment and retention costs because we must maintain larger hiring, training and human resources departments and it also increases our operating costs due to having to reallocate certain business processes among our operations centers where we have access to the skilled workforce needed for our business. These additional costs could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows.
If we are unable to attract and retain highly-skilled technical personnel, our ability to effectively lead our current projects and develop new business could be jeopardized, and our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We often have a long selling cycle for our operations management services that requires significant funds and management resources and a long implementation cycle that requires significant resource commitments.
We often have a long selling cycle for our operations management services, which requires significant investment of capital, resources and time by both our clients and us. Before committing to use our services, potential clients require us to expend substantial time and resources educating them as to the value of our services, including testing our services for a limited period of time, and assessing the feasibility of integrating our systems and processes with theirs. Our clients then evaluate our services before deciding whether to use them. Therefore, our selling cycle, which generally ranges from six to eighteen months, is subject to many risks and delays over which we have little or no control, including our clients’ decision to choose alternatives to our services (such as other providers or in-house offshore resources) and the timing of our clients’ budget cycles and approval processes. In addition, we may not be able to successfully conclude a contract after the selling cycle is complete.
Implementing our services involves a significant commitment of resources over an extended period of time from both our clients and us. Our clients may also experience delays in obtaining internal approvals or delays associated with technology or system implementations, thereby delaying further the implementation process. Our clients and future clients may not be willing or able to invest the time and resources necessary to implement our services, and we may fail to close sales with potential clients to which we have devoted significant time and resources. These factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Once we are engaged by a client, it may take us several months before we start to recognize significant revenues.
When we are engaged by a client after the selling process for our operations management services, it takes from four to six weeks to integrate the client’s systems with ours, and from three months to six months thereafter to build our services to the client’s requirements and perform any necessary transformation initiatives. Depending on the complexity of the processes being implemented, these time periods may be significantly longer. Implementing processes can be subject to potential delays similar to certain of those affecting the selling cycle. Therefore, we do not recognize significant revenues until after we have completed the implementation phase.
We generally enter into long-term contracts with our clients for our operations management services, and our failure to accurately estimate the resources and time required for our contracts may negatively affect our revenues, cash flows and profitability.
The initial terms of our operations management contracts typically range from three to five years. In many of our operations management contracts we commit to long-term and other pricing structures (such as full-time equivalent-based pricing, fixed-price arrangements, and output- and outcome-based pricing) with our clients and therefore bear the risk of cost overruns, completion delays, resource requirements, wage inflation and adverse movements in exchange rates in connection with these contracts. If we fail to estimate accurately the resources and time required for a contract, potential productivity benefits over time, future wage
inflation rates or currency exchange rates (or fail to accurately hedge our currency exchange rate exposure) or if we fail to complete our contractual obligations within the contracted timeframe, our revenues, cash flows and profitability may be negatively affected.
Consistency in our revenues from period to period depends in part on our ability to reflect the changing demands and needs of our existing and potential clients. If we are unable to adjust our pricing terms or the mix of products and services we provide to meet the changing demands of our clients and potential clients, our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows may be adversely affected.
A significant portion of our contracts use a pricing model that provides for hourly or annual billing rates. Industry pricing models are evolving and clients increasingly request transaction-based, outcome-based or other pricing models. If we make inaccurate assumptions for contracts with such alternative pricing models, our profitability may be negatively affected. If we are unable to adapt our operations to evolving pricing protocols, our results of operations may be adversely affected or we may not be able to offer pricing that is attractive relative to our competitors.
In addition, for the services we provide to our clients, the revenues and income from such services may decline or vary as the type and volume of services we provide under those contracts changes over time, including as a result of a shift in the mix of products and services we provide. Furthermore, our clients, some of which have experienced significant and adverse changes in their prospects, substantial price competition and pressures on their profitability, have in the past and may in the future demand price reductions, automate some or all of their processes or change their operations management strategy by moving more work in-house or to other providers, any of which could reduce our profitability. Any significant reduction in or the elimination of the use of the services we provide to any of our clients, or any requirement to lower our prices, would harm our business.
Our profitability will suffer if we are not able to price our services appropriately or manage our asset utilization levels.
Our profitability is largely a function of the efficiency with which we utilize our assets, in particular our people and our operations centers, and the pricing that we are able to obtain for our services. Our asset utilization levels are affected by a number of factors, including our ability to transition employees from completed projects to new assignments, attract, train and retain employees, forecast demand for our services (including potential client terminations or reductions in required resources) and maintain an appropriate headcount in each of our locations, as well as our need to dedicate resources to employee training and development and other typically non-chargeable activities. The prices we are able to charge for our services are affected by a number of factors, including our clients’ perceptions of our ability to add value through our services, substantial price competition, introduction of new services or products by us or our competitors, our ability to accurately estimate, attain and sustain revenues from client engagements, our ability to estimate resources for long-term pricing, margins and cash flows for long-term contracts and general economic and political conditions. Therefore, if we are unable to appropriately price our services or manage our asset utilization levels, there could be a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
Our projects based analytics and consulting services are cyclical involving short-term contracts.
Our projects based analytics and consulting services are cyclical and can be significantly affected by variations in business cycles. Changes in the deadlines or the scope of work required for compliance with the requirements of legislation applicable to our clients could curtail significantly those service offerings.
In addition, our projects based analytics and consulting services consists of contracts with terms generally not exceeding one year and may not produce ongoing or recurring business for us once the project is completed. These contracts also usually contain provisions permitting termination of the contract after a short notice period. The short-term nature and specificity of these projects could lead to material fluctuations and uncertainties in the revenues generated from providing analytics and consulting services.
Our operating results may experience significant variability and as a result it may be difficult for us to make accurate financial forecasts.
Our operating results may vary significantly from period to period. Although our existing agreements with original terms of three or more years provide us with a relatively predictable revenue base for a substantial portion of our business, the long selling cycle for our services and the budget and approval processes of prospective clients make it difficult to predict the timing of entering into definitive agreements with new clients. The timing of revenue recognition under new client agreements also varies depending on when we complete the implementation phase with new clients. The completion of implementation varies significantly based upon the complexity of the processes being implemented.
Our period-to-period results have in the past and may also in the future fluctuate due to other factors, including client losses, delays or failure by our clients to provide anticipated business, variations in employee utilization rates resulting from changes in our clients’ operations, delays or difficulties in expanding our operations centers and infrastructure (including hiring new employees or constructing new operations centers), changes to our pricing structure or that of our competitors, currency fluctuations, seasonal changes in the operations of our clients and other events identified in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our revenues are also affected by changes in pricing under our contracts at the time of renewal or by pricing under new contracts. In addition, most of our contracts do not commit our clients to provide us with a specific volume of business. Further, as we increase our capabilities utilizing technology service platforms and other software-based services, we expect that revenues from such services will continue to grow in proportion to our total revenues. Revenues from annual maintenance and support contracts for our software platforms provide us with a relatively predictable revenue base whereas revenues from new license sales and implementation projects have a long selling cycle and it is difficult to predict the timing of when such new contracts will be signed which may lead to fluctuations in our short term revenues. All these factors may make it difficult to make accurate financial forecasts or replace anticipated revenues that we do not receive as a result of delays in implementing our services or client losses. If our actual results do not meet any estimated results that we announce, or if we underperform market expectations as a result of such factors, trading prices for our common stock could be adversely affected.
Our senior management team is critical to our continued success and the loss of one or more members of our senior management team could harm our business.
Our future success substantially depends on the continued services and performance of the members of our management team and other key employees possessing technical and business capabilities, including industry expertise, that are difficult to replace. Specifically, the loss of the services of our Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer could seriously impair our ability to continue to manage and expand our business. There is intense competition for experienced senior management and personnel with technical and industry expertise in the industry in which we operate, and we may not be able to retain these officers or key employees. Although we have entered into employment and non-competition agreements with all of our executive officers, certain terms of those agreements may not be enforceable and in any event these agreements do not ensure the continued service of these executive officers.
In addition, we currently do not maintain “key person” insurance covering any member of our management team. The loss of any of our key employees, particularly to competitors, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Our inability to manage our rapid infrastructure and personnel growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Since we were founded in April 1999, we have experienced rapid growth and significantly expanded our operations, and that growth has continued in recent years as well. We have several operations centers in India, the U.S., the Philippines and an operations center in each of the United Kingdom, South Africa, Colombia, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Czech Republic. Further, we have acquired multiple regional offices in the U.S. as part of our acquisitions. Our headcount has increased significantly over the past several years. We expect to develop and improve our internal systems in the locations where we operate in order to address the anticipated continued growth of our business. We are also continuing to look for operations centers at additional locations outside of our current operating geographies. We believe expanding our geographic base of operations will provide higher value to our clients by decreasing the risks of operating from a single country (including potential shortages of skilled employees, increases in wage costs during strong economic times and currency fluctuations), while also giving our clients access to a wider talent pool and establishing a base in countries that may be competitive in the future. However, we may not be able to effectively manage our infrastructure and employee expansion, open additional operations centers or hire additional skilled employees as and when they are required to meet the ongoing needs of our clients, and we may not be able to develop and improve our internal systems. We also need to manage cultural differences between our employee populations and that may create a risk for employment law claims. Our inability to execute our growth strategy, to ensure the continued adequacy of our current systems or to manage our expansion effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We may engage in strategic acquisitions or transactions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
As part of our business strategy, we intend to continue to selectively consider acquisitions or investments, some of which may be material. Through the acquisitions we pursue, we may seek opportunities to expand the scope of our existing services, add new clients or enter new geographic markets. There can be no assurance that we will successfully identify suitable candidates in
the future for strategic transactions at acceptable prices, have sufficient capital resources to finance potential acquisitions or be able to consummate any desired transactions. Our failure to close transactions with potential acquisition targets for which we have invested significant time and resources could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and cash flows.
Acquisitions, including completed acquisitions, involve a number of risks, including diversion of management’s attention, ability to finance the acquisition on attractive terms, failure to retain key personnel or valuable customers, legal liabilities and the need to amortize acquired intangible assets, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Future acquisitions may also result in the incurrence of indebtedness or the issuance of additional equity securities.
The intellectual property of an acquired business may be an important component of the value that we agree to pay for such a business. Although we conduct due diligence in connection with each of our acquisitions, such acquisitions are subject to the risks that the acquired business may not own the intellectual property that we believe we are acquiring, that the intellectual property is dependent upon licenses from third parties, that the acquired business infringes upon the intellectual property rights of others or that the technology does not have the acceptance in the marketplace that we anticipated.
We could also experience financial or other setbacks if transactions encounter unanticipated problems, including problems related to execution, integration or underperformance relative to prior expectations. Our management may not be able to successfully integrate any acquired business into our operations or maintain our standards, controls and policies, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Consequently, any acquisition we complete may not result in long-term benefits to us or we may not be able to further develop the acquired business in the manner we anticipated.
Following the completion of some acquisitions, we may have to rely on the seller to provide administrative and other support, including financial reporting and internal controls, and other transition services to the acquired business for a period of time. There can be no assurance that the seller will do so in a manner that is acceptable to us.
We may not be able to realize the entire book value of goodwill and other intangible assets from acquisitions.
We periodically assess our goodwill and intangible assets to determine if they are impaired and we monitor for impairment of goodwill relating to all acquisitions. Goodwill is not amortized but is tested for impairment at least once on an annual basis in the fourth quarter of each year, based on a number of factors including operating results, business plans and future cash flows. Impairment testing of goodwill may also be performed between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of goodwill below its carrying amount. We perform a quantitative test to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount. In the event that the carrying amount of goodwill is impaired, any such impairment would be charged to earnings in the period of impairment. Since this involves use of critical accounting estimates, we cannot assure you that future impairment of goodwill will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
If we are unable to collect our receivables from, or bill our unbilled services to, our clients, our results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected.
Our business depends on our ability to successfully obtain payment from our clients for work performed. We evaluate the financial condition of our clients and usually bill and collect on relatively short cycles. We maintain allowances against receivables and unbilled services. Actual losses on client balances could differ from those that we currently anticipate and, as a result, we might need to adjust our allowances. We might not accurately assess the creditworthiness of our clients. Macroeconomic conditions, such as any domestic or global credit crisis and disruption or the global financial system, could also result in financial difficulties for our clients, including limited access to the credit markets, insolvency or bankruptcy, and, as a result, could cause clients to delay payments to us, request modifications to their payment arrangements that could increase our receivables balance, or default on their payment obligations to us. Timely collection of client balances also depends on our ability to complete our contractual commitments and bill and collect our contracted revenues. If we are unable to meet our contractual requirements, we might experience delays in collection of and/or be unable to collect our client balances, and if this occurs, our results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected. In addition, if we experience an increase in the time to bill and collect for our services, our cash flows could be adversely affected.
Employee wage increases may prevent us from sustaining our competitive advantage and may reduce our profit margin.
Our most significant costs are the salaries and related benefits of our operations staff and other employees. For example, wage costs in India and the Philippines have historically been significantly lower than wage costs in the U.S. and Europe for
comparably skilled professionals, which has been one of our competitive advantages. However, because of rapid economic growth in India, increased demand for outsourcing services from India and increased competition for skilled employees in India, wages for comparably skilled employees in India are increasing at a faster rate than in the U.S. and Europe, which may reduce this competitive advantage. We may need to increase the levels of employee compensation more rapidly than in the past to remain competitive in attracting and retaining the quality and number of employees that our business requires. Wages are generally higher for employees performing analytics services than for employees performing operations management services. As the scale of our analytics services increases, wages as a percentage of revenues will likely increase. To the extent that we are not able to control or share wage increases with our clients, wage increases may reduce our margins and cash flows. We will attempt to control such costs by our efforts to add capacity in locations where we consider wage levels of skilled personnel to be satisfactory, but we may not be successful in doing so.
We face significant competition from U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based BPM and IT companies and from our clients, who may build shared services centers to perform these services themselves, either in-house, in the U.S. or through offshore groups or other arrangements.
The market for outsourcing services is highly competitive, and we expect competition to intensify and increase from a number of sources. We believe that the principal competitive factors in our markets are breadth and depth of process expertise, knowledge of industries served, service quality, the ability to attract, train and retain qualified people, compliance rigor, global delivery capabilities, price and sales and client management capabilities. We also face competition from non-U.S.-based outsourcing and IT companies (including those in the U.K. and India) and U.S.-based outsourcing and IT companies. Further, a client may choose to use its own internal resources rather than engage an outside firm to perform the types of services we provide. In addition, the trend toward offshore outsourcing, international expansion by foreign and domestic competitors and continuing technological changes, such as cloud computing, will result in new and different competition for our services.
These competitors may include entrants from the communications, software and data networking industries or entrants in geographic locations with lower costs than those in which we operate. Some of these existing and future competitors have greater financial, personnel and other resources, a broader range of service offerings, greater technological expertise, more recognizable brand names and more established relationships in industries that we currently serve or may serve in the future. In addition, some of our competitors may enter into strategic relationships or mergers or acquisitions with larger, more established companies in order to increase their ability to address client needs, or enter into similar arrangements with potential clients. The trend in multi-vendor relationships has been growing, which could reduce our revenues to the extent that we are required to modify the terms of our relationship with clients or that clients obtain services from other vendors. Increased competition, our inability to compete successfully against competitors, pricing pressures or loss of market share could result in reduced gross margins, which could harm our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We expect competition to intensify in the future as more companies enter our markets. Increased competition may result in lower prices and volumes, higher costs for resources, especially people, and lower profitability. We may not be able to supply clients with services that they deem superior and at competitive prices and we may lose business to our competitors. Any inability to compete effectively would adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We may disrupt our clients’ operations as a result of inadequate service or other factors, including telecommunications or technology downtime or interruptions.
The services we provide are often critical to our clients’ businesses, and any failure to provide those services could result in a reduction in revenues or a claim for substantial damages against us, regardless of whether we are responsible for that failure. Most of our agreements with clients contain service level and performance requirements, including requirements relating to the quality of our services. Failure to consistently meet service requirements of a client or errors made by our employees in the course of delivering services to our clients could disrupt the client’s business and result in a reduction in revenues or a claim for damages against us.
Our business is dependent on the secure and reliable operation of controls within our and our clients’ information systems and processes, whether operated or executed by our clients themselves or by us in connection with our provision of services to them. Although we believe we take adequate measures to safeguard against system-related and other fraud, there can be no assurance that we would be able to prevent fraud or even detect them on a timely basis, particularly where it relates to our clients’ information systems which are not managed by us. We could incur certain liabilities if a process we manage for a client were to result in internal control failures or processing errors, or impair our client’s ability to comply with its own internal control requirements.
Our dependence on our offshore operations centers requires us to maintain active voice and data communications among our operations centers, our international technology hubs and our clients’ offices. Although we maintain redundant facilities and
communications links, disruptions could result from, among other things, technical breakdowns, computer glitches and viruses and weather conditions. We also depend on certain significant vendors for facility storage and related maintenance of our main technology equipment and data at those technology hubs, as well as for some of the third party technology and platforms we sometimes use to deliver our services. Any failure by these vendors to perform those services, any temporary or permanent loss of our equipment or systems, or any disruptions to basic infrastructure like power and telecommunications could impede our ability to provide services to our clients, have a negative impact on our reputation, cause us to lose clients, reduce our revenues and cash flows and harm our business.
Our contractual limitations on liability with our clients and third parties may not be enforceable.
Under most of our agreements with our clients, our liability for breach of certain of our obligations is generally limited to actual damages suffered by the client and is typically capped at the fees paid or payable to us for a period of time under the relevant agreement. These limitations and caps on liability may be unenforceable or otherwise may not protect us from liability for damages. In addition, certain liabilities, such as claims of third parties for which we may be required to indemnify our clients, including intellectual property infringement claims, or liability for fraud or breaches of confidentiality or notification costs relating to data breaches, are generally not limited under those agreements. Because our agreements are governed by laws of multiple jurisdictions, the interpretation of certain provisions, and the availability of certain defenses to us, may vary, which, in certain circumstances, may contribute to uncertainty as to the scope of our potential liability.
Our business could be negatively affected if we incur legal liability, including with respect to our contractual obligations, in connection with providing our solutions and services.
If we fail to meet our contractual obligations or otherwise breach obligations to our clients or vendors, we could be subject to legal liability. We may enter into non-standard agreements because we perceive an important economic opportunity by doing so or because our personnel did not adequately adhere to our guidelines. In addition, with respect to our client contracts, the contracting practices of our competitors may cause contract terms and conditions that are unfavorable to us to become standard in the marketplace. If we cannot or do not perform our obligations with clients or vendors, we could face legal liability and our contracts might not always protect us adequately through limitations on the scope and/or amount of our potential liability. If we cannot, or do not, meet our contractual obligations to provide solutions and services to clients, and if our exposure is not adequately limited through the enforceable terms of our agreements, we might face significant legal liability and our business could be adversely affected. Similarly, if we cannot, or do not, meet our contractual obligations with vendors, such as licensors, the vendors may have the right to terminate the contract, in which case we may not be able to provide client solutions and services dependent on the products or services provided to us by such contracts.
Our business could be materially and adversely affected if we do not protect our intellectual property or if our services are found to infringe on the intellectual property of others.
Our success depends in part on certain methodologies, practices, tools and technical expertise we utilize in providing our services. We engage in designing, developing, implementing and maintaining applications and other proprietary materials. In order to protect our rights in these various materials, we may seek protection under trade secret, patent, copyright and trademark laws. We also generally enter into confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements with our clients and potential clients, and third party vendors, and seek to limit access to and distribution of our proprietary information. For our employees and independent contractors, we generally require confidentiality and work-for-hire agreements. These measures may not prevent misappropriation or infringement of our intellectual property or proprietary information and a resulting loss of competitive advantage. Additionally, we may not be successful in obtaining or maintaining patents or trademarks for which we have applied.
We may be unable to protect our intellectual property and proprietary technology effectively, which may allow competitors to duplicate our technology and products and may adversely affect our ability to compete with them. To the extent that we do not protect our intellectual property effectively through patents or other means, other parties, including former employees, with knowledge of our intellectual property may leave and seek to exploit our intellectual property for their own or others’ advantage. We may not be able to detect unauthorized use and take appropriate steps to enforce our rights, and any such steps may not be successful. Infringement by others of our intellectual property, including the costs of enforcing our intellectual property rights, may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
In addition, competitors or others may allege that our systems, processes, marketing, data usage or technologies infringe on their intellectual property rights, including patents. Non-practicing entities may also bring baseless, but nonetheless costly to defend, infringement claims. We could be required to indemnify our clients if they are sued by a third party for intellectual property infringement arising from materials that we have provided to the clients in connection with our services and deliverables. We may not be successful in defending against such intellectual property claims or in obtaining licenses or an agreement to resolve any
intellectual property disputes. Given the complex, rapidly changing and competitive technological and business environment in which we operate, and the potential risks and uncertainties of intellectual property-related litigation, we cannot provide assurances that a future assertion of an infringement claim against us or our clients will not cause us to alter our business practices, lose significant revenues, incur significant license, royalty or technology development expenses, or pay significant monetary damages or legal fees and costs. Any such claim for intellectual property infringement may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We may not be fully insured for all losses we may incur.
We could be sued directly for claims that could be significant, such as claims related to breaches of privacy or network security, infringement of intellectual property rights, violation of wage and hour laws, or systemic discrimination, and our liability under our contracts may not fully limit or insulate us from those liabilities. Although we have general liability insurance coverage, including coverage for errors or omissions, cyber security incidents, property damage or loss and breaches of privacy and network security, that coverage may not continue to be available on reasonable terms or in sufficient amounts to cover one or more large claims, and our insurers may disclaim coverage as to any future claim. Insurance is not available for certain types of claims, including patent infringement, violation of wage and hour laws, failure to provide equal pay in the U.S., and our indemnification obligations to our clients based on employment law. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that are excluded from our insurance coverage or exceed available insurance coverage, or changes in our insurance policies (including premium increases, the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, or our insurers’ disclaimer of coverage as to future claims), could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
New and changing laws, corporate governance and public disclosure requirements add uncertainty to our compliance policies and increase our costs of compliance.
Changing laws, regulations and standards relating to accounting, corporate governance and public disclosure, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd Frank”), other SEC regulations, rules and regulations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and the NASDAQ Global Select Market, and generally accepted accounting principles issued by FASB can create uncertainty for companies like ours. These laws, regulations and standards may lack specificity and are subject to varying interpretations. Their application in practice may evolve over time, as new guidance is provided by regulatory and governing bodies. This could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and higher costs of compliance as a result of ongoing revisions to such corporate governance standards.
In particular, our efforts to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the related regulations regarding our required assessment of our internal controls over financial reporting and our external auditors’ audit of that assessment requires the commitment of significant financial and managerial resources. We consistently assess the adequacy of our internal controls over financial reporting, remediate any control deficiencies that may be identified, and validate through testing that our controls are functioning as documented. Internal control over financial reporting has inherent limitations, including human error, sample-based testing, the possibility that controls could be circumvented or become inadequate because of changed conditions, and fraud. Because of these inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting might not prevent or detect all misstatements or fraud. While we do not anticipate any internal control failures, if we cannot maintain effective internal controls or if management or our independent auditor fail in the future to provide us with an unqualified report as to the adequacy and effectiveness, respectively, of our internal controls over financial reporting for future year ends, it could result in adverse consequences to us, including, but not limited to, a loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which could cause the market price of our stock to decline.
We are committed to maintaining high standards of corporate governance and public disclosure, and our efforts to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards in this regard have resulted in, and are likely to continue to result in, increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management time and attention from revenue-generating activities to compliance activities. In addition, the laws, regulations and standards regarding corporate governance may make it more difficult for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance. Further, our board members, chief executive officer and chief financial officer could face an increased risk of personal liability in connection with their performance of duties. As a result, we may face difficulties attracting and retaining qualified board members and executive officers, which could harm our business. If we fail to comply with new or changed laws, regulations or standards of corporate governance, our business and reputation may be harmed.
Failure to adhere to the regulations or accreditation or licensing standards that govern our business could have an adverse impact on our operations.
Our clients’ business operations are often subject to regulation and accreditation and licensing standards, and our clients may require that we perform our services in a manner that will enable them to comply with applicable regulations or accreditations or licensing standards. Our clients are located around the world, and the laws and regulations that apply include, among others, United States federal laws such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, state laws on third party administration services, utilization review services, telemarketing services or state laws on debt collection in the United States and the Financial Services Act in the United Kingdom as well as similar consumer protection laws in other countries in which our clients’ customers are based. Failure to perform our services in a manner that complies with any such requirements could result in breaches of contracts with our clients. In addition, we are required under various laws to obtain and maintain accreditations, permits and/or licenses for the conduct of our business in all jurisdictions in which we have operations, including India, and, in some cases, where our clients receive our services, including the United States and Europe. If we do not maintain our accreditations, licenses or other qualifications to provide our services or if we do not adapt to changes in legislation or regulation, we may have to cease operations in the relevant jurisdictions and may not be able to provide services to existing clients or be able to attract new clients. In addition, we may be required to expend significant resources in order to comply with laws and regulations in the jurisdictions mentioned above. Any failure to abide by regulations relating either to our business or our clients’ businesses may also, in some limited circumstances, result in civil fines and criminal penalties for us. Any such ceasing of operations or civil or criminal actions may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We may face difficulties in delivering complex and large projects for our clients that could cause clients to discontinue their work with us, which in turn could harm our business.
We have been expanding the nature and scope of our engagements. Our ability to effectively offer a wider breadth of end-to-end business services depends on our ability to attract existing or new clients to these expanded service offerings. To obtain engagements for such complex and large projects, we also are more likely to compete with large, well-established international consulting firms, resulting in increased competition and marketing costs. Accordingly, we cannot be certain that our new service offerings will effectively meet client needs or that we will be able to attract existing and new clients to these expanded service offerings. The increased breadth of our service offerings may result in larger and more complex projects with our clients. This will require us to establish closer relationships with our clients and a thorough understanding of their operations. Our ability to establish such relationships will depend on a number of factors, including the proficiency of our employees and management. Our failure to deliver services that meet the requirements specified by our clients could result in termination of client contracts, and we could be liable to our clients for significant penalties or damages. Larger projects may involve multiple engagements or stages, and there is a risk that a client may choose not to retain us for additional stages or may cancel or delay additional planned engagements. These terminations, cancellations or delays may result from factors that have little or nothing to do with the quality of our services, such as the business or financial condition of our clients or the economy generally. Such cancellations or delays make it difficult to plan for project resource requirements and inaccuracies in such resource planning and allocation may have a negative impact on our profitability and cash flows.
We may not be able to service our debt or obtain additional financing on competitive terms.
On October 1, 2018, the Company entered into an investment agreement with Orogen Echo LLC (the “Purchaser”), an affiliate of The Orogen Group LLC, relating to the issuance to the Purchaser of $150 million aggregate principal amount of 3.50% Convertible Senior Notes due October 1, 2024 (the “Notes”). The Notes bear interest at a rate of 3.50% per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears in cash on April 1 and October 1 of each year. See Note 18, “Borrowings,” to our consolidated financial statements for key terms of the Notes.
Our credit agreement for our bank debt facility contains covenants which require, among other things, maintenance of certain financial ratios, indebtedness and also, under certain conditions, restrict our ability to pay dividends, repurchase common shares and make other restricted payments as defined in the credit agreement. The credit agreement provides for a $300 million revolving credit facility including a letter of credit sub-facility. Our credit facility has a maturity date of November 21, 2022 and is voluntarily payable from time to time without premium or penalty.
Our cash flow from operations provides the primary source of funds for our debt service payments. If our cash flow from operations declines, we may not be able to service or refinance our current debt which could adversely affect our business and financial condition. In addition, we have limited ability to increase our borrowings under our existing credit agreement.
We may in the future require additional financing to fund one or more acquisitions and may not be able to obtain such additional financing on competitive terms or at all, which could restrict our ability to complete such transactions, or could impose financial or operational restrictions on our business.
We may not have the ability to use cash to settle the principal amount of the Notes upon conversion or to repurchase the Notes upon a fundamental change, which could result in dilution and could adversely affect our financial condition.
The Notes are convertible any time prior to their maturity on October 1, 2024 into cash, stock or a combination of cash and stock at an initial conversion rate set forth in the indenture governing the Notes (the "Indenture"). Notes that are converted in connection with a make-whole fundamental change (as defined in the Indenture) may be entitled to an increase in the conversion rate for such Notes. Upon a conversion event, if we do not have adequate cash available or cannot obtain additional financing, or our use of cash is restricted by applicable law, regulations or agreements governing our current or future indebtedness, we may not be able to use cash to settle the principal amount of the Notes upon conversion. If we settle any portion of the principal amount of the Notes upon conversion in stock, it will result in immediate dilution to existing stockholders and such dilution could be material.
In addition, holders of the Notes have the right to require us to repurchase their Notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change (as defined in the Indenture) at a repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. If we do not have adequate cash available or cannot obtain additional financing, or our use of cash is restricted by applicable law, regulations or agreements governing our current or future indebtedness, we may not be able repurchase the Notes when required under the Indenture, which would constitute an event of default under the Indenture. An event of default under the Indenture could also lead to a default under other agreements governing our current and future indebtedness, and if the repayment of such other indebtedness were accelerated, we may not have sufficient funds to repay the indebtedness and repurchase the Notes or make cash payments upon conversion of the Notes.
The terms of the Notes could delay or prevent an attempt to take over our Company.
The terms of the Notes require us to repurchase the Notes in the event of a fundamental change. A takeover of our Company would constitute a fundamental change. This could have the effect of delaying or preventing a takeover of our Company that may otherwise be beneficial to our stockholders.
We are exposed to credit risk and fluctuations in the market values of our investment and derivatives portfolios.
Any deterioration of the credit and capital markets in the United States, Asia or other regions of the world could result in volatility of our investment earnings and impairments to our investment portfolio, which could negatively impact our financial condition and reported income. Changes in economic conditions could adversely affect the ability of counterparties, including counterparties to our foreign exchange forward contracts, to meet their obligations to us, which could materially affect our positions and investments.
We may be required to transition from the use of the LIBOR interest rate index in the future. We could be unable to refinance our outstanding indebtedness on reasonable terms or at all.
Our credit facility, which represents a portion of our borrowing, bears interest at a variable rate based on the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR"). In July 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR to the administrator of LIBOR after 2021. This announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021. In June 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Alternative Reference Rates Committee announced the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) as its recommended alternative to USD LIBOR. However, the composition and characteristics of SOFR are not the same as those of USD LIBOR, and there can be no assurance that SOFR will perform in the same way as LIBOR would have at any time.
If LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to renegotiate our credit facility and some financing agreements extending beyond 2021 that utilize LIBOR as a factor in determining the interest rate, and may not be able to do so with terms that are favorable to us. We are evaluating the potential impact of the cessation of LIBOR, however, we are not able to predict whether LIBOR will cease to be available or cease to be used (whether before or after 2021), whether SOFR or any other rate will become a widely accepted replacement for LIBOR, or the terms on which we may be able to renegotiate our credit facility and its eventual impact on our interest expense. The overall financing market may be disrupted as a result of the cessation or phase-out of LIBOR. Disruption
in the financial market or the inability to renegotiate the credit facility with favorable terms could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position, and operating results.
Uncertainties in the interpretation and application of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 could materially affect our tax obligations and effective tax rate.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Tax Reform Act”) was enacted on December 22, 2017, and significantly affected U.S. tax law by changing how the U.S. imposes income tax on multinational corporations. The U.S. Department of Treasury has broad authority to issue regulations and interpretative guidance that may significantly impact how we will apply the law and impact our results of operations in the period issued. The Tax Reform Act requires complex computations not previously provided in U.S. tax law. As such, the application of accounting guidance for such items continues to remain uncertain. Further, compliance with the Tax Reform Act and the accounting for such provisions require accumulation of information not previously required or regularly produced. As a result, we have provided the effect of the Tax Reform Act in our financial statements.
Risks Related to the International Nature of Our Business
We may choose to expand operations to additional countries and may not be successful in maintaining our current profit margins in our new locations due to factors beyond our control.
We have offices and operations in various countries around the world and provide services to customers globally. We continually evaluate additional locations outside our current operating geographies in which to invest in operations centers, in order to maintain an appropriate cost structure for our clients’ needs. In recent years we have opened new operations centers in countries outside of the U.S. We cannot predict the extent of government support, availability of qualified workers, or monetary and economic conditions in other countries. Additionally, we may expand into less developed countries that have less political, social or economic stability and less developed infrastructure and legal systems. Although some of these factors will influence our decision to establish operations in another country, there are inherent risks beyond our control, including exposure to currency fluctuations, political uncertainties, foreign exchange restrictions and foreign regulatory restrictions. We may also face difficulties integrating new facilities in different countries into our existing operations. One or more of these factors or other factors relating to expanded international operations could result in increased operating expenses and make it more difficult for us to manage our costs and operations, which could harm our business and negatively impact our operating results and cash flows.
If more stringent labor laws become applicable to us or if our employees unionize, our profitability may be adversely affected.
Some of the geographies where we operate have stringent employee friendly labor legislation, including legislation that sets forth detailed procedures for dispute resolution, employee separation, as well as imposing financial obligations on employers upon retrenchment. Though we are exempt from some of these labor laws at present under applicable exceptions in relevant jurisdictions, there can be no assurance that such laws will not become applicable to us in the future. If these labor laws become applicable to our employees, it may become difficult for us to maintain flexible human resource policies and attract and employ the numbers of sufficiently qualified candidates that we need or discharge employees, and our compensation expenses may increase significantly. Regulations in other countries in which we operate also regulate our relations with our employees.
During the quarter ended March 31, 2019, there was a judicial pronouncement in India with respect to defined contribution benefits payments interpreting certain statutory defined contribution obligations of employees and employers. It is unclear whether the interpretation set out in the pronouncement has retrospective application. If applied retrospectively, the interpretation may result in a significant increase in contributions payable by the Company for past periods for certain of its India-based employees and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
In addition, our employees may in the future form unions. If employees at any of our operations centers become eligible for union membership, we may be required to raise wage levels or grant other benefits that could result in an increase in our compensation expenses, in which case our profitability and cash flows may be adversely affected.
The Government of India in the past few years has focused on the occupational health and safety concerns experienced by workers in the outsourcing industry. The introduction of legislation imposing restrictions on working hours or conditions of professionals in the outsourcing industry could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
Our global operations subject us to significant labor and employment risks.
We may from time to time be subject to litigation or administrative actions resulting from claims against us by current or former employees, individually or as part of a class action, including for claims of wrongful termination, discrimination (including on grounds of nationality, ethnicity, race, faith, gender, marital status, age or disability), misclassification, redundancy payments described above, or other violations of labor laws, or other alleged conduct. If we are held liable for unpaid compensation, redundancy payments, statutory penalties, and other damages arising out of such actions and litigations, such liabilities could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Our financial condition could be negatively affected if foreign governments introduces new legislation, reduce or withdraw tax benefits and other incentives currently provided to companies within our industry or if we are not eligible for these benefits.
We are subject to income taxes in the United States and other foreign jurisdictions. Our tax expense and cash tax liability in the future could be adversely affected by various factors, including, but not limited to, changes in tax laws, regulations, accounting principles or interpretations and the potential adverse outcome of tax examinations. Changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, which may result from a decline in our profitability or changes in tax rates or legislation, could have a material adverse effect on our tax expense.
Certain operations centers in India, which were established in Special Economic Zones (“SEZs”), are eligible for tax incentives until 2025. These operations centers are eligible for a 100% income tax exemption for the first 5 years of operations and 50% exemption for a period of 5 years thereafter. We anticipate establishing additional operations centers in SEZs or other tax advantaged locations in the future.
As our SEZ legislation benefits are phasing out, our Indian tax expense may materially increase and our after-tax profitability may be materially reduced, unless we can obtain comparable benefits under new legislation or otherwise reduce our tax liability. Similarly, alternative minimum taxes are imposed by certain jurisdictions on otherwise exempt income, which may increase our tax expense in future years.
We also benefit from a corporate tax holiday in the Philippines for our operations centers established there over the last several years. The tax holiday already expired for few of our centers and will expire in the future for the other centers, which may lead to an increase in our overall tax rate. Following the expiry of the tax exemption, income generated from centers in the Philippines will be taxed at the prevailing annual tax rate.
As a result of the foregoing, our overall effective tax rate may increase in future years and such increase may be material and may have impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
If the transfer pricing arrangements we have among our subsidiaries are determined to be inappropriate, our tax liability may increase.
U.S. and Indian transfer pricing regulations, as well as regulations applicable in other countries in which we operate, require that any international transaction involving associated enterprises be at an arm’s-length price. Transactions among the Company’s subsidiaries and the Company may be required to satisfy such requirements. Accordingly, the Company determines the pricing among its associated enterprises on the basis of detailed functional and economic analysis involving benchmarking against transactions among entities that are not under common control. The tax authorities have jurisdiction to review this arrangement and in the event that they determine that the transfer price applied was not appropriate, the Company may incur increased tax liability, including accrued interest and penalties, which would cause our tax expense to increase, possibly materially, thereby reducing our profitability and cash flows. The Company is currently involved in disputes with the Indian tax authorities over the application of some of its transfer pricing policies for past years. See Note 22 and Note 26 to our consolidated financial statements for details.
Introduction of tax legislation and disputes with tax authorities may have an adverse effect on our operations and our overall effective tax rate.
Governments in countries in which we operate or provide services could enact new tax legislation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. In addition, our ability to repatriate surplus earnings from our operations centers in a tax-efficient manner is dependent upon interpretations of local laws, possible changes in such laws and the renegotiation of existing double tax avoidance treaties. Changes to any of these may adversely affect
our overall tax rate, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
The Company’s legal entity rationalization project is an ongoing endeavor to simplify our global legal entity structure, remove redundancies and reduce compliance risks and costs. Furthermore, we also strive to optimize the tax and financial efficiencies of the group structure. As a result, we may carry out certain re-organizations under the tax laws of various jurisdictions in which we operate and take certain positions to qualify for tax neutrality for such internal re-organization. However, we cannot assure you that any of these projects will be fully implemented or implemented in a manner satisfactory to the Company, or, if it is implemented, that there will not be any adverse actions brought by the tax authorities of certain jurisdictions if this re-organization is implemented.
Our earnings may be adversely affected if we repatriate funds held by our foreign subsidiaries.
We earn a significant amount of our earnings outside of the United States. We do not presently intend to repatriate funds held by our foreign subsidiaries in light of the current regulatory environment (including under the Tax Reform Act) and because our future growth depends in part upon continued infrastructure and technology investments, geographical expansions and acquisitions outside of the U.S. Not all of the undistributed earnings may be available for repatriation due to foreign legal restrictions that require minimum reserves to be maintained in those countries. However, in light of the Tax Reform Act, such earnings have been subject to U.S. federal tax as a result of the mandatory repatriation provision described in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Income Taxes” and in Note 22 to our consolidated financial statements contained herein. If we change our present intention and decide to repatriate such earnings, we may have to accrue further taxes associated with such earnings in accordance with local tax laws, rules and regulations in the relevant jurisdictions. All of these risks and uncertainties could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Our global operations expose us to numerous and sometimes conflicting legal and regulatory requirements, and violations of these regulations could harm our business.
We provide services to clients throughout the world, therefore we are subject to numerous, and sometimes conflicting, legal rules on matters as diverse as import/export controls, content requirements, trade restrictions, tariffs, taxation, sanctions, government affairs, internal and disclosure control obligations, data privacy and labor relations. The global nature of our operations increases the difficulty of compliance. Compliance with diverse legal requirements is costly, time-consuming and requires significant resources. Violations of these laws or regulations in the conduct of our business could result in fines, criminal sanctions against us or our officers, prohibitions on doing business, damage to our reputation and other unintended consequences such as liability for monetary damages, fines and/or criminal prosecution, unfavorable publicity, restrictions on our ability to process information and allegations by our clients that we have not performed our contractual obligations. Due to the varying degrees of development of the legal systems of the countries in which we operate, local laws might be insufficient to protect our rights. Our failure to comply with applicable legal and regulatory requirements could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
In addition, it may be difficult to enforce our intellectual property rights both within and outside of the U.S. India is a member of the Berne Convention, an international intellectual property treaty, and has agreed to recognize protections on intellectual property rights conferred under the laws of other foreign countries, including the laws of the U.S. There can be no assurance, however, that the laws, rules, regulations and treaties in effect in the U.S., India and the other jurisdictions in which we operate and the contractual and other protective measures we take, are adequate to protect us from misappropriation or unauthorized use of our intellectual property, or that such laws will not change.
Among other anti-corruption laws and regulations, including the U.K. Bribery Act, we are subject to the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, which prohibits improper payments or offers of improper payments to foreign officials to obtain business or any other benefit. The FCPA also requires covered companies to make and keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect the transactions of the company and to devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls. In many parts of the world, including countries in which we operate, practices in the local business community might not conform to international business standards and could violate these anti-corruption laws or regulations. Although we have policies and procedures in place that are designed to promote legal and regulatory compliance, our employees, subcontractors and agents could take actions that violate these policies or procedures or applicable anti-corruption laws or regulations. Furthermore, the U.S. government may seek to hold us liable for successor liability FCPA violations committed by companies in which we invest or that we acquire. Violations of these laws or regulations could subject us to criminal or civil enforcement actions, including fines and suspension or disqualification from government contracting or contracting with private entities in certain highly regulated industries, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Currency exchange rate fluctuations in the various currencies in which we do business, especially the Indian rupee and Philippine peso versus the U.S. dollar, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
Although we report our operating results in U.S. dollars, a portion of our revenues and expenses are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates can have a number of adverse effects on us. Because our consolidated financial statements are presented in U.S. dollars, we must translate revenues, expenses and income, as well as assets and liabilities, into U.S. dollars at exchange rates in effect during or at the end of each reporting period. The exchange rates among the Indian rupee, Philippine peso and other currencies in which we incur costs or receive revenues and the U.S. dollar have changed substantially in recent years and may fluctuate substantially in the future. See Item 7A-“Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.” Additionally, because a majority of our employees are based in India and the Philippines and paid in Indian rupees or Philippine peso while our revenues are primarily reported in U.S. dollars and U.K. pounds sterling, our employee costs as a percentage of revenues may increase or decrease significantly if the exchange rates among the Indian rupee, Philippine peso and the U.S. dollar fluctuate significantly.
Our results of operations could be adversely affected over time by certain movements in exchange rates, particularly if the Indian rupee or other currencies in which we incur expenses or receive revenues, change substantially against the U.S. dollar. Although we take steps to hedge a substantial portion of our Indian rupee/U.S. dollar, U.K pounds sterling/U.S. dollar and Philippine peso/U.S. dollar foreign currency exposures, there is no assurance that our hedging strategy will be successful or that the hedging markets will have sufficient liquidity or depth to allow us to implement our hedging strategy in a cost-effective manner. Any failure by our hedging counterparties to meet their contractual obligations could materially and adversely affect our profitability. We are subject to legal restrictions on hedging activities as well as the convertibility of currencies in India. This could limit our ability to use cash generated in one country in another country and could limit our ability to hedge our exposures.
In June 2016, the U.K. held a referendum in which British citizens approved an exit from the European Union ("EU"), commonly referred to as “Brexit.” Following protracted negotiations, the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020. Under the withdrawal agreement, there is a transitional period until December 31, 2020 (extendable up to two years). Discussions between the United Kingdom and the EU have so far mainly focused on finalizing withdrawal issues and transition agreements but have been extremely difficult. To date, only an outline of a trade agreement has been reached. If no trade agreement has been reached before the end of the transitional period, there may be significant market and economic disruption. The UK Prime Minister has indicated that the United Kingdom will not seek to extend the transitional period beyond the end of 2020. The UK Prime Minister has also indicated that the UK will not accept high regulatory alignment with the EU.
As a result of the referendum earlier and the recent exit of the U.K. from the EU, the global markets and currencies have been and may in the future be adversely impacted, including experiencing a decline in the value of the U.K. pound sterling as compared to the U.S. dollar and causing adverse impacts to our U.K. operations and those of our clients. Volatility in exchange rates is expected to continue until transition agreements on trade and regulatory matters are formalized, besides other withdrawal issues. As a result, it is possible that events in the U.K. related to Brexit may adversely affect our financial results, operations and cash flows.
Terrorist attacks and other acts of violence involving India, the Philippines, the U.S. or other countries could adversely affect the financial markets, result in a loss of client confidence and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Terrorist attacks and other acts of violence or war, including those involving India, the Philippines, the U.S. or other countries, may adversely affect worldwide financial markets and could lead to economic recession, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. These events could adversely affect our clients’ levels of business activity and precipitate sudden significant changes in regional and global economic conditions and cycles. These events also pose significant risks to our people and to our operations centers. South Asia has, from time to time, experienced instances of civil unrest and hostilities among neighboring countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan and China. In recent years there have been several instances of military confrontations along the Indo-Pakistani border. There continues to be potential for hostilities between India and Pakistan due to recent terrorist activities and the geopolitical climate along the border. Although this has not been the case to date, such political tensions could create a perception that there is a risk of disruption of services provided by companies with operations in India, which could have a material adverse effect on the market for our services. Furthermore, if India were to become engaged in armed hostilities, particularly hostilities that were protracted or involved the threat or use of nuclear weapons, we might not be able to continue our operations in India. Our insurance policies may not insure us against losses and interruptions caused by terrorist attacks and other acts of violence or war.
A substantial portion of our assets and operations are located in India, and we are subject to regulatory, economic and political uncertainties in India.
Many of our operating subsidiaries are incorporated in India, and a substantial portion of our assets and our professionals are located in India. We intend to continue to develop and expand our offshore facilities in India. In the past, India experienced significant inflation, low growth in gross domestic product and shortages of foreign currency reserves. The Indian government, however, has exercised and continues to exercise significant influence over many aspects of the Indian economy. India’s government has provided significant tax incentives and relaxed certain regulatory restrictions in order to encourage foreign investment in specified sectors of the economy, including our industry. Certain of those programs, which have benefited us, include tax holidays, liberalized import and export duties and preferential rules on foreign investment and repatriation. We cannot assure you that liberalization policies will continue or that any other changes made by the Indian government will be favorable to our operations or business. Recent changes in the leadership of the Indian government, could result in the modification of India’s economic liberalization, deregulation and other policies and disrupt business and economic conditions in India generally and our business in particular. Any such actions could remove benefits currently received by us or impose additional taxes or other obligations on us and therefore negatively impact our business.
The choice of India as an outsourcing destination and our financial performance may be adversely affected by general economic conditions and economic and fiscal policy in India, including changes in exchange rates and controls, interest rates and taxation policies, as well as social stability and political, economic or diplomatic developments affecting India in the future. In particular, India has experienced significant economic growth over the last several years, but faces major challenges in sustaining that growth in the years ahead. These challenges include the need for substantial infrastructure development and improving access to healthcare and education. Our ability to recruit, train and retain qualified employees, develop and operate our operations centers, and attract and retain clients could be adversely affected if India does not successfully meet these challenges.
Restrictions on visas and work permits may affect our ability to compete for and provide services to clients in the U.S. and other jurisdictions, which could make it more difficult to staff engagements and could increase our costs, which could have an adverse effect on our net income.
Immigration and work permit laws and regulations in the countries in which we have customers are subject to legislative and administrative changes as well as changes in the application of standards and enforcement.
The ability of some of our executives and employees based in India and other foreign locations to work with and meet clients in the U.S. and other jurisdictions depends on their ability to obtain the necessary visas and work permits. In recent years, immigration authorities, in the U.S. as well as other jurisdictions in which our clients are based, have increased the level of scrutiny in granting such visas and work permits. In addition, immigration laws are subject to legislative change and varying standards of application and enforcement due to political forces, economic conditions or other events, including terrorist attacks. We cannot predict the political or economic events that could affect immigration laws or any restrictive impact those events could have on obtaining or monitoring visas or work permits for our professionals. The ability to move our employees around the world as necessary to meet client demands is important to our business. If we are unable to efficiently deploy talent because of increased regulation of immigration or work visas, including limitations placed on the number of visas granted, limitations on the type of work performed or location in which the work can be performed, and new or higher minimum salary requirements, it could be more difficult to staff our employees on client engagements and could increase our costs and have an adverse effect on our net income and cash flows.
We are vulnerable to natural disasters, technical disruptions and man-made events that could severely disrupt the normal operation of our business and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Our operations centers and our data and voice communications, particularly in India and the Philippines, may be damaged or disrupted as a result of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, volcano eruptions, heavy rains, epidemics or pandemics, tsunamis and cyclones, technical disruptions such as electricity or infrastructure breakdowns, including damage to telecommunications cables, computer glitches and electronic viruses or man-made events such as protests, riots and labor unrest. Such events may lead to the disruption of information systems and telecommunication services for sustained periods. They also may make it difficult or impossible for employees to reach our business locations. Damage or destruction that interrupts our provision of services could adversely affect our reputation, our relationships with our clients, our leadership team’s ability to administer and supervise our business or it may cause us to incur substantial additional expenditure to repair or replace damaged equipment or delivery centers. We may also be liable to our clients for disruption in service resulting from such damage or destruction. While we currently have commercial liability insurance, our insurance coverage may not be sufficient. Furthermore, we may be unable to secure such insurance coverage at premiums acceptable to us in the future or at all. Prolonged disruption of
our services would also entitle our clients to terminate their contracts with us. Any of the above factors may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Investors may have difficulty effecting service of process or enforcing judgments obtained in the U.S. against our subsidiaries in India or our executive officers.
Our primary operating subsidiaries are organized outside the U.S. and some of our executive officers may reside outside of the U.S. A substantial portion of our assets are located in India. As a result, you may be unable to effect service of process upon our affiliates who reside in India outside their jurisdiction of residence. In addition, you may be unable to enforce against these persons outside the jurisdiction of their residence judgments obtained in courts of the U.S., including judgments predicated solely upon the federal securities laws of the U.S.
Sections 44A and Section 13 of the Indian Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (the “Civil Code”) govern recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. Section 44A of the Civil Code provides for recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment without having to file an original suit in India, provided such judgments have been rendered by courts in a country or territory outside India which the Government of India has declared to be a reciprocating territory. We have been advised by our Indian counsel that the U.S. and India do not currently have a treaty providing for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments (other than certain arbitration awards) in civil and commercial matters. Therefore, a final judgment for the payment of money rendered by any federal or state court in the U.S. based on civil liability, whether or not it is predicated upon the federal securities laws of the U.S., would not be enforceable in India as such.
However, if the party in whose favor such final judgment is rendered brings a new suit in a competent court in India based on a final judgment that has been obtained in the U.S., Section 13 of the Civil Code provides that the foreign judgment will be conclusive as to certain matters. The suit must be brought in India within three years of the date of the foreign judgment. It is unlikely, however, that a court in India would award damages on the same basis as a court in the U.S. if an action is brought in India. It is also unlikely that an Indian court would enforce judgments obtained in the U.S. if it viewed the amount of damages awarded as excessive or inconsistent with Indian practice.
Risks Related to our Common Stock
Delaware law and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and by-laws contain certain anti-takeover provisions that could delay or discourage business combinations and takeover attempts that stockholders may consider favorable.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and by-laws contain provisions that may make it more difficult, expensive or otherwise discourage a tender offer or a change in control or takeover attempt by a third-party that is opposed by our board of directors. These provisions include classified board provisions, provisions permitting the board of directors to fill vacancies created by its expansion, provisions permitting the removal of directors only for cause and with the vote of holders of two thirds of our common stock, provisions requiring the vote of holders of two thirds of our common stock for certain amendments to our organizational documents, provisions barring stockholders from calling a special meeting of stockholders or requiring one to be called or from taking action by written consent and provisions that set forth advance notice procedures for stockholders’ nominations of directors and proposals for consideration at meetings of stockholders. These provisions may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in management that stockholders consider favorable. Additionally, because we are incorporated in Delaware, we are subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. Section 203 may prohibit large stockholders, in particular those owning 15.0% or more of our outstanding voting stock, from merging or combining with us. These provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, by-laws and Delaware law could discourage potential takeover attempts and reduce the price that investors might be willing to pay for shares of our common stock in the future which could reduce the market price of our stock.
We do not intend to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, and, because we are also a holding company, we may be unable to pay dividends.
For the foreseeable future, we intend to retain any earnings to finance the development and expansion of our business, and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our common stock. Any future determination to pay dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will be dependent on then-existing conditions, including our financial condition and results of operations, capital requirements, contractual restrictions, including restrictions under our credit agreement, business prospects and other factors that our board of directors considers relevant. Furthermore, because we are also a holding company, any dividend payments would also depend on the cash flow from our subsidiaries. Accordingly, under certain circumstances, we may not be able to pay dividends even if our board of directors would otherwise deem it appropriate.
Our stock price continues to be volatile.
Our stock has at times experienced substantial price volatility as a result of, among other reasons, variations between our actual and anticipated financial results, announcements by us and our competitors, projections or speculation about our business or that of our competitors by the media or investment analysts or uncertainty about current global economic conditions. The stock market, as a whole, experiences extreme price and volume fluctuations that affect the market price of many companies, including technology companies, in ways that may have been unrelated to these companies’ operating performance. Furthermore, we believe our stock price should reflect future growth and profitability expectations and, if we fail to meet these expectations, this may have a materially adverse effect on the trading price of our common stock.
Risks Related to our Industry
Our industry is subject to rapid technological change, and we may not be successful in addressing these changes.
Our industry is characterized by rapid technological change, evolving industry standards, changing client preferences and new product introductions. The success of our business depends, in part, upon our ability to develop services that keep pace with changes in the industry. We may not be successful in addressing these changes on a timely basis, or at all, or successfully marketing any changes that we implement. In addition, products or technologies developed by others may render our services uncompetitive or obsolete. If we do not sufficiently invest in new technology and industry developments or if we do not make the right strategic investments to respond to these developments and successfully drive innovation, our services and solutions, our results of operations, and our ability to develop and maintain a competitive advantage and continue to grow could be negatively affected.
Our industry may not develop in ways that we currently anticipate due to negative public reaction in the U.S. and elsewhere to offshore outsourcing, recently proposed legislation or otherwise.
We have based our strategy of future growth on certain assumptions regarding our industry and future developments in the market for outsourcing services. For example, we believe that there will continue to be changes in product and service requirements, and investments in the products offered by our clients will continue to increase. However, the trend to outsource business processes may not continue and could reverse. Offshore outsourcing is a politically sensitive topic in the U.S. and elsewhere, and many organizations and public figures have publicly expressed concern about a perceived association between offshore outsourcing providers and the loss of jobs in the U.S. and elsewhere. In the past year there have been high-profile movements among activists as well as executive and legislative leadership in the U.S. with the potential to restrict or reduce the use of offshore resources. In addition, there has been limited publicity about the negative experience of certain companies that use offshore outsourcing, particularly in India. Current or prospective clients may elect to perform such services themselves or may be discouraged from transferring these services to offshore providers to avoid any negative perception that may be associated with using an offshore provider. Any slowdown or reversal of existing industry trends would harm our ability to compete effectively with competitors that operate out of facilities located in the U.S. and elsewhere.
A variety of U.S. federal and state legislation has been proposed that, if enacted, could restrict or discourage U.S. companies from outsourcing their services to companies with facilities outside the U.S. For example, legislation has been proposed that would require offshore providers to identify where they are located and that would require notice to individuals whose personal information is disclosed to non-U.S. companies. In addition, bills have been proposed that would provide tax and other economic incentives for companies that create employment in the U.S. by reducing their offshore outsourcing. Other bills have proposed requiring call centers to disclose their geographic locations, requiring notice to individuals whose personal information is disclosed to non-U.S. affiliates or subcontractors, requiring disclosures of companies’ foreign outsourcing practices or restricting U.S. private sector companies that have federal government contracts, federal grants or guaranteed loan programs from outsourcing their services to offshore service providers. Because most of our clients are located in the U.S., any expansion of existing laws or the enactment of new legislation restricting offshore outsourcing could adversely impact our ability to do business with U.S. clients and have a material and adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
In other countries, such as the U.K., there has also been some negative publicity and concern expressed regarding the possible effect of job losses caused by outsourcing. Legislation enacted in the U.K. as well as other European jurisdictions provides that if a company transfers or outsources its business or a part of its business to a transferee or a service provider, the employees who were employed in such business are entitled to become employed by the transferee or service provider on the same terms and conditions as they had been employed before the transfer. The dismissal of such employees as a result of such transfer of business is deemed unfair dismissal and entitles the employees to compensation. As a result, we may become liable for redundancy payments to the employees of our clients who outsource business to us from those jurisdictions. We are generally indemnified in our existing contracts with clients in those jurisdictions to the extent we incur losses or additional costs due to the application of this legislation to us, and we intend to obtain indemnification in future contracts with clients. However, if we are unable to obtain indemnification
in future contracts with clients or if the existing indemnification is not enforceable or available, we may be liable under those agreements we enter into with clients in the U.K. and other European jurisdictions.
Unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential client and customer data, whether through breach of our computer systems or otherwise, could expose us to protracted and costly litigation and cause us to lose clients.
We are typically required to process, and sometimes collect and/or store sensitive data, including data regulated by the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended, of our clients’ end customers in connection with our services, including names, addresses, social security numbers, personal health information, credit card account numbers, checking and savings account numbers and payment history records, such as account closures and returned checks. In addition, we collect and store data regarding our employees. As a result, we are subject to various data protection and privacy laws, including the GDPR and CCPA, in the countries in which we operate, and the failure to comply could result in significant fines and penalties. In addition, many of our agreements with our clients do not include any limitation on our liability to them with respect to breaches of our obligation to keep the information we receive from them confidential.
Although we devote substantial resources to protect our information assets and our clients' confidential information, any network infrastructure are subject to be vulnerable to rapidly evolving cyber-attacks, and our user data and corporate systems and security measures may be breached due to the actions of outside parties (including cyber-attacks), employee error, malfeasance, a combination of these, or otherwise, allowing an unauthorized party to obtain access to our data or our users’ or customers’ data. Additionally, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees, users, or customers to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to our data or our users’ or customers’ data. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently or may be designed to remain dormant until a predetermined event and often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or implement adequate preventative measures. If an actual or perceived breach of our security occurs (or a breach of a customer’s security that can be attributed to our fault or is perceived to be our fault), the market perception of the effectiveness of our security measures could be harmed and we could lose users and customers. Security breaches expose us to a risk of loss of this information, litigation, remediation costs, increased costs for security measures, loss of revenue, damage to our reputation, and potential liability.
If any person, including any of our employees, negligently disregards or intentionally breaches controls or procedures with which we are responsible for complying with respect to such data or otherwise mismanages or misappropriates that data, or if unauthorized access to or disclosure of data in our possession or control occurs, we could be subject to significant liability to our clients or our clients’ customers for breaching contractual confidentiality and security provisions or privacy laws, as well as liability and penalties in connection with any violation of applicable privacy laws or criminal prosecution. Unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential client or employee data, whether through breach of computer systems, systems failure, employee negligence, fraud or misappropriation, or otherwise, could damage our reputation and cause us to lose clients. Similarly, unauthorized access to or through our information systems and networks or those we develop or manage for our clients, whether by our employees or third parties, could result in negative publicity, legal liability and damage to our reputation.
If any person, including any of our employees, is able to penetrate our perimeter or internal network security, computing infrastructure or otherwise mismanages or misappropriates sensitive data, discloses or distributes any such data in an unauthorized manner, we could be subject to significant liability and lawsuits from our clients or their customers for breaching contractual confidentiality provisions or privacy laws, or investigations and penalties from regulators. Under some of our client contracts, we have agreed to pay for the costs of remediation or notice to end users or credit monitoring, as well as other costs.
Cyber-attacks penetrating the network security of our data centers or any unauthorized disclosure or access to confidential information and data of our clients or their end customers could also have a negative impact on our reputation and client confidence, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
ITEM 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
ITEM 2. Properties
Our corporate headquarters are located in New York, New York. We have twenty six operations centers in India, six operations centers in the Philippines and one operations center in each of Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Romania and South Africa with an aggregate area of approximately 2,020,000 square feet and a current installed capacity of approximately 31,000 workstations, including workstations for training and our employees in enabling functions. We also have multiple operations centers and regional offices in the U.S. and an operations center in the U.K.
Our corporate headquarters and all of our operations centers are leased under long-term leases with varying expiration dates, except for an operations center in Pune, India with an area of 86,361 sq. ft. and containing approximately 1,650 agent workstations, which we own. Substantially all of our owned and leased property is used to service all of our reporting segments. We believe that our current facilities are adequate to support our existing operations. We also believe that we will be able to obtain suitable additional facilities on commercially reasonable terms on an “as needed basis.”
ITEM 3. Legal Proceedings
In the course of our normal business activities, various lawsuits, claims and proceedings may be instituted or asserted against us. Although there can be no assurance, we believe that the disposition of matters currently instituted or asserted will not have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows. See Note 26 to our consolidated financial statements contained herein for details regarding our tax proceedings.
ITEM 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “EXLS.”
As of February 25, 2020, there were 24 holders of record of our outstanding common stock. A substantially greater number of holders of our common stock are “street name” or beneficial holders, whose shares of record are held by banks, brokers, and other financial institutions.
We do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
On February 28, 2017, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized an additional common stock repurchase program (the “2017 Repurchase Program”), under which shares may be purchased by the Company from time to time from the open market and through private transactions during each of the fiscal years 2017 through 2019 up to an aggregate additional amount of $100 million. The approval authorized stock repurchases of up to $40 million in each of 2018 and 2019.
The Company has structured open market purchases under the 2017 Repurchase Program to comply with Rule 10b-18 under the Exchange Act. Repurchases may be discontinued at any time by management.
On December 16, 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a $200 million common stock repurchase program beginning January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2022. The shares may be purchased by the Company from time to time from the open market and through private transactions, or otherwise, as determined by the Company’s management as market conditions warrant.
Repurchased shares under the 2017 Repurchase Program are recorded as treasury shares and are held until our Board of Directors designates that these shares be retired or used for other purposes.
The following table provides information regarding the purchase of equity securities by the Company during the three months ended December 31, 2019:
Total Number of
Paid per share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly
Announced Plans or Programs
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
October 1, 2019 through October 31, 2019
November 1, 2019 through November 30, 2019(1)
December 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019(1)
(1) Includes 1,193 shares of the Company’s common stock acquired by the Company at the price of $69.30 in connection with satisfaction of tax withholding obligations on vested restricted stock. Price paid per share for the restricted stock was the average of high and low price of common stock on the trading day prior to the vesting date of the restricted stock units.
During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company purchased 643,486 shares of its common stock under the 2017 Repurchase Program, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $39.9 million including commissions, representing an average purchase price per share of $61.96.
During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company purchased 23,859 shares from employees in connection with withholding tax payments related to the vesting of restricted stock units for a total consideration of $1.5 million. The weighted average purchase price of $62.47 was the closing price of the Company’s shares of common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on the trading day prior to the vesting date of the shares of restricted stock.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
The following table provides information as of December 31, 2019 with respect to the shares of our common stock that may be issued under our existing equity compensation plans. For a description of our equity compensation plans, see Note 23 to our consolidated financial statements.
Number of Securities
to be Issued Upon
Options, Warrants and Rights*
Options, Warrants and Rights
Number of Securities
Remaining Available for Future
Issuance Under Equity
Compensation Plans (Excluding Securities
Reflected in Column 1)
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
This includes outstanding options and unvested Restricted Stock Units, which include Time-Based Restricted Stock Units and Performance Restricted Stock Units. See Note 23 to our consolidated financial statements for further details.
The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock with the cumulative total return of the Nasdaq 100 Index (capitalization weighted) and our peer group of companies for the period beginning December 31, 2014. Our peer group of companies is comprised of two companies that we believe are our closest reporting issuer competitors: Genpact Limited and WNS (Holdings) Limited. The returns of the component entities of our peer group index are weighted according to the market capitalization of each company as of the beginning of each period for which a return is presented. The returns assume that $100 was invested on December 31, 2014 and that all dividends were reinvested. The stock performance shown on the graph below is not indicative of future price performance.
This graph will not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act or otherwise subject to the liability of that section. This graph will not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any prior or subsequent filing under the Securities Act, or the Exchange Act.
ITEM 6. Selected Financial Data
The following table sets forth our selected consolidated historical financial data as of the dates and for the periods indicated. Our selected consolidated financial data set forth below as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 and for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2019 has been derived from our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our selected consolidated financial data set forth below as of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 and for years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 is derived from our audited financial statements, which are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our selected consolidated financial information for 2019, 2018 and 2017 should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” which are included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Year ended December 31,
2018 (1) (3)
(in millions, except share and per share data)
Consolidated Statements of Income Data (1)
Cost of revenues (2)
Gross profit (2)
General and administrative expenses
Selling and marketing expenses
Depreciation and amortization expense
Impairment and restructuring charges
Income from operations
Foreign exchange gain, net
Other income, net
Income before income tax expense and earnings from equity affiliates
Income tax expense
Income before earnings from equity affiliates
Loss from equity-method investment
Net income attributable to ExlService Holdings, Inc. stockholders
Earnings per share attributable to ExlService Holdings, Inc. stockholders:
Weighted-average number of shares used in computing earnings per share attributable to ExlService Holdings Inc. stockholders:
(1) Results of operations of acquired businesses have been recorded in the financial statements since the date of acquisition. Refer to Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements.
(2) Exclusive of depreciation and amortization expense.
(3) Adjusted pursuant to adoption of ASU No. 2017-07, Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Post-retirement Benefit Cost. Refer to Note 27 to our consolidated financial statements.
As of December 31,
Consolidated Balance Sheets Data:
Cash and cash equivalents (1)
Working capital (2)
Total assets (3)
Other long term obligations (4)
(1) Cash and cash equivalents does not include restricted cash.
(2) Working capital means total current assets less total current liabilities.
(3) On January 1, 2019, we adopted Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), which led to recognition of right-of-use assets in the consolidated balance sheets. Prior period amounts have not been adjusted under the modified retrospective method.
(4) Other long term obligations include operating lease liabilities, unrecognized tax benefits, retirement benefits, deferred rent, unrealized losses on derivatives financial instruments, income taxes payable and other long-term liabilities.
ITEM 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion in connection with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Some of the statements in the following discussion are forward looking statements. Dollar amounts within Item 7 are presented as actual, rounded, dollar amounts.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on these statements because they are subject to numerous uncertainties and factors relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. These statements often include words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate” or similar expressions. These statements are based on assumptions that we have made in light of our experience in the industry as well as our perceptions of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors we believe are appropriate under the circumstances. As you read and consider this Annual Report on Form 10-K, you should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. They involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Although we believe that these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, you should be aware that many factors could affect our actual financial results or results of operations and could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These factors include but are not limited to:
•our dependence on a limited number of clients in a limited number of industries;
worldwide political, economic or business conditions;
negative public reaction in the U.S. or elsewhere to offshore outsourcing;
fluctuations in our earnings;
our ability to attract and retain clients including in a timely manner;
our ability to successfully consummate or integrate strategic acquisitions;
our ability to accurately estimate and/or manage the costs and/or timing of winding down businesses;
restrictions on immigration;
our ability to hire and retain enough sufficiently trained employees to support our operations;
our ability to grow our business or effectively manage growth and international operations;
any changes in the senior management team;
increasing competition in our industry;
telecommunications or technology disruptions;
our ability to withstand the loss of a significant customer;
our ability to realize the entire book value of goodwill and other intangible assets from acquisitions;
regulatory, legislative and judicial developments, including changes to or the withdrawal of governmental fiscal incentives;
changes in tax laws or decisions regarding repatriation of funds held abroad;
ability to service debt or obtain additional financing on favorable terms;
legal liability arising out of customer contracts;
political or economic instability in the geographies in which we operate;
cyber security incidents, data breaches, or other unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential client and customer data; and
adverse outcome of our disputes with the Indian tax authorities.
These and other factors are more fully discussed elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. These and other risks could cause actual results to differ materially from those implied by forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The forward-looking statements made by us in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, or elsewhere, speak only as of the date on which they were made. New risks and uncertainties come up from time to time, and it is impossible for us to predict those events or how they may affect us. We have no obligation to update any forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, except as required by federal securities laws.
We are a leading operations management and analytics company that helps our clients build and grow sustainable businesses. By orchestrating our domain expertise, data, analytics and digital technology, we look deeper to design and manage agile, customer-centric operating models to improve global operations, drive profitability, enhance customer satisfaction, increase data-driven insights, and manage risk and compliance. We serve customers in multiple industries, including insurance, healthcare, banking and financial services, utilities, travel, transportation and logistics, media and retail, among others.
We operate in the business process management (“BPM”) industry and we provide operations management and analytics services. As described below, effective January 1, 2020, we realigned our operating and reportable segments, but the presentation in this Annual Report, including the discussion in the next two paragraphs, refers to the structure in place prior to such realignment.
Our eight operating segments are strategic business units that align our products and services with how we manage our business, approach our key markets and interact with our clients. Five of those operating segments provide BPM or “operations management” services, which we organize into industry-focused operating segments (Insurance, Healthcare, Travel, Transportation and Logistics, Banking and Financial Services, and Utilities) and one of the operating segments is a “capability” segment (Finance and Accounting) that provides services to clients in our industry-focused segments as well as clients across other industries. In each of these six operating segments we provide operations management services, which typically involve transfer to the Company of business operations of a client, after which we administer and manage those operations for our client on an ongoing basis. Our remaining two operating segments are Consulting, which provides industry-specific digital transformational services related to operations management services, and our Analytics operating segment, which provides services that focus on driving improved business outcomes for clients by generating data-driven insights across all parts of their business.
We present information for the following reportable segments:
Travel, Transportation and Logistics,
All Other (consisting of our remaining operating segments, including our Banking and Financial Services, Utilities and Consulting operating segments).
Effective January 1, 2020, we made certain operational and structural changes to more closely integrate our businesses and to simplify our organizational structure. We now manage and report financial information through our four strategic business units: Insurance, Healthcare, Analytics and Emerging Business which reflects how management will review financial information and make operating decisions. These business units will develop client specific solutions, build capabilities, maintain a unified go-to-market approach and be integrally responsible for service delivery, customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. In line with our strategy of vertical integration and focus on domain expertise we have integrated our Finance & Accounting and Consulting operating segments within each of the Insurance and Healthcare operating segments based on the respective industry-specific clients. Finance & Accounting and Consulting Services to clients outside of those industries, will now be part of our newly formed business unit and reportable segment ‘Emerging Business’. In addition, we integrated our former Travel, Transportation and Logistics, Banking and Financial Services, and Utilities operating segments under “Emerging Business” to further leverage and optimize the operating scale in providing operations management services.
Our new reportable segments effective January 1, 2020 are as follows:
This change in segment presentation will not have any effect on our consolidated statements of income, balance sheets or statements of cash flows. The revised presentation will be reflected in our subsequent periodic and annual reports.
For further information on our operating segments, see “Item 1. Business.”
Our global delivery network, which includes highly trained industry and process specialists across the United States, Latin America, South Africa, Europe and Asia (primarily India and the Philippines), is a key asset. We have operations centers in India, the U.S., the Philippines, Bulgaria, Colombia, South Africa, Romania and the Czech Republic.
On July 1, 2018, we completed the acquisition of SCIO pursuant to the Merger Agreement. The acquisition of SCIO is included in the Analytics reportable segment. SCIO is a health analytics solution and services company serving healthcare organizations including providers, health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, employers, health services and global life sciences companies.
On December 31, 2019, we completed substantially the previously announced wind down of the operations of the Health Integrated business, which is reported within the Healthcare reportable segment.
For the year ended December 31, 2019, we had revenues of $991.3 million compared to revenues of $883.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of $108.2 million, or 12.3%.
We serve clients mainly in the U.S. and the U.K., with these two regions generating 82.5% and 11.4%, respectively, of our total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 83.0% and 13.0%, respectively, of our revenues for the year ended December 31, 2018.
For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, our total revenues from our top ten clients accounted for 36.1% and 37.2% of our total revenues, respectively. Our revenue concentration with our top clients remains largely consistent year-over-year and we continue to develop relationships with new clients to diversify our client base. We believe that the loss of any of our ten largest clients could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance.
We provide operations management and analytics services. We market our services to our existing and prospective clients through our sales and client management teams, which are aligned by key industry verticals and cross-industry domains such as finance and accounting. Our sales and client management teams operate from the U.S., Europe and Australia.
Operations Management Services: We provide our clients with a range of operations management services principally in the insurance, healthcare, travel, transportation and logistics, banking and financial services and utilities sectors, among others, as well as cross-industry operations management services, such as finance and accounting services. We also provide services related to operations management, through our Consulting services that provides industry - specific digital transformational services.
Our operations management solutions typically involve the transfer to the Company business operations of a client such as claims processing, clinical operations, or financial transaction processing, after which we administer and manage the operations for our client on an ongoing basis. As part of this transfer, we hire and train employees to work at our operations centers on the relevant business operations, implement a process migration to these operations centers and then provide services either to the client or directly to the client’s customers. Each client contract has different terms based on the scope, deliverables and complexity of the engagement.
We continue to observe a shift in industry pricing models toward transaction-based pricing, outcome-based pricing and other pricing models. We believe this trend will continue and we use such alternative pricing models with some of our current clients and are seeking to move certain other clients from a billing rate model to a transaction-based or other pricing model. These pricing models place the focus on operating efficiency in order to maintain our gross margins. In addition, we have also observed that prospective larger clients are entering into multi-vendor relationships with regard to their outsourcing needs. We believe that the trend toward multi-vendor relationships will continue. A multi-vendor relationship allows a client to seek more favorable pricing and other contract terms from each vendor, which can result in significantly reduced gross margins from the provision of services to such client for each vendor. To the extent our large clients expand their use of multi-vendor relationships and are able to extract more favorable contract terms from other vendors, our gross margins and revenues may be reduced with regard to such clients if we are required to modify the terms of our relationships with such clients to meet competition.
Our existing agreements with original terms of three or more years provide us with a relatively predictable revenue base for a substantial portion of our operations management business, however, we have a long selling cycle for our services and the budget and approval processes of prospective clients make it difficult to predict the timing of entering into definitive agreements with new clients. Similarly, new license sales and implementation projects for our technology service platforms and other software-
based services have a long selling cycle, however ongoing annual maintenance and support contracts for existing arrangements provide us with a relatively predictable revenue base.
Analytics: Our Analytics services focus on driving improved business outcomes for our customers by generating data-driven insights across all parts of our customers’ business. We also provide care optimization and reimbursement optimization services, for our clients through our healthcare analytics solutions and services. We also offer integrated solutions to help our clients in cost containment by leveraging technology platforms, customizable and configurable analytics and expertise in healthcare reimbursements to help clients enhance their claim payment accuracy. Our teams deliver predictive and prescriptive analytics in the areas of customer acquisition and lifecycle management, risk underwriting and pricing, operational effectiveness, credit and operational risk monitoring and governance, regulatory reporting, payment integrity and care management and data management. We actively cross-sell and, where appropriate, integrate our Analytics services with other operations management services as part of a comprehensive offering set for our clients.
We anticipate that revenues from our Analytics services will grow as we expand our service offerings and client base, both organically and through acquisitions.
Cost of Revenues
Our cost of revenues primarily consists of:
employee costs, which include salary, bonus and other compensation expenses; recruitment and training costs; employee insurance; transport; rewards and recognition for certain employees; and non-cash stock compensation expense; and
costs relating to our facilities and communications network, which include telecommunication and IT costs; facilities and customer management support; operational expenses for our operations centers; rent expenses; and
travel and other billable costs to our clients; and
costs relating to our direct mail operations and other digital solutions.
The most significant components of our cost of revenues are salaries and benefits (including stock based compensation), recruitment, training, transport, meals, rewards and recognition and employee insurance. Salary levels, employee turnover rates and our ability to efficiently manage and utilize our employees significantly affect our cost of revenues. Salary increases for most of our operations personnel are generally awarded each year effective April 1. Accordingly, employee costs are generally lower in the first quarter of each year compared to the rest of the year. We make every effort to manage employee and capacity utilization and continuously monitor service levels and staffing requirements. Although we generally have been able to reallocate our employees as client demand has fluctuated, a contract termination or significant reduction in work assigned to us by a major client could cause us to experience a higher-than-expected number of unassigned employees, which would increase our cost of revenues as a percentage of revenues until we are able to reduce or reallocate our headcount. A significant increase in the turnover rate among our employees, particularly among the highly skilled workforce needed to execute certain services, would increase our recruiting and training costs and decrease our operating efficiency, productivity and profit margins. In addition, cost of revenues also includes non-cash amortization of stock compensation expense relating to our issuance of equity awards to employees directly involved in providing services to our clients.
We expect our cost of revenues to continue to increase as we continue to add professionals in our operating centers globally to service additional business and as wages continue to increase globally. In particular, we expect training costs to continue to increase as we continue to add staff to service new clients and provide existing staff with additional skill sets. There is significant competition for professionals with skills necessary to perform the services we offer to our clients. As our existing competitors continue to grow, and as new competitors enter the market, we expect competition for skilled professionals in each of these areas to continue to increase, with corresponding increases in our cost of revenues to reflect increased compensation levels for such professionals. However, a significant portion of our client contracts include inflation-based adjustments to our billing rates year over year which partially offset such increase in cost of revenues. See Item 1A-“Risk Factors-Employee wage increases may prevent us from sustaining our competitive advantage and may reduce our profit margin.”
We generally experience a higher cost of revenues as a percentage of revenues during the initial 12 months to 18 months in a long-term BPM contract due to upfront investments in infrastructure, resource hiring and training during migration. The cost of revenues as a percentage of revenues improve as we scale up, achieve operational efficiencies and complete the migration.
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses ("SG&A")
Our general and administrative expenses are comprised of expenses relating to salaries and benefits (including stock based compensation) as well as costs related to recruitment, training and retention of senior management and other support personnel
in enabling functions, telecommunications, utilities, travel and other miscellaneous administrative costs. General and administrative (“G&A”) expenses also include acquisition-related costs, legal and professional fees (which represent the costs of third party legal, tax, accounting and other advisors), investment in product development, digital technology, advanced automation and robotics, bad debt allowance and non-cash amortization of stock compensation expenses related to our issuance of equity awards to members of our board of directors. We expect our G&A costs to increase as we continue to strengthen our support and enabling functions and invest in leadership development, performance management and training programs.
Selling and marketing expenses primarily consist of salaries and benefits (including stock based compensation) and other compensation expenses of sales and marketing and client management personnel, sales commission, travel and brand building, client events and conferences. We expect that sales and marketing expenses will continue to increase as we invest in our sales and client management functions to better serve our clients and in our branding.
Depreciation and Amortization Expense
Depreciation and amortization pertains to depreciation of our tangible assets, including network equipment, cabling, computers, office furniture and equipment, motor vehicles and leasehold improvements and amortization of intangible assets. As we add new facilities and expand our existing operations centers, we expect that depreciation expense will increase, reflecting additional investments in equipment such as desktop computers, servers and other infrastructure. We expect amortization of intangible assets to increase further as we pursue strategic relationships and acquisitions.
Impairment charges pertain to write down of carrying values to fair values of goodwill and intangible assets acquired in a business combination. We perform our annual impairment test annually during the fourth quarter, or more frequently, as circumstances warrant, for all our reporting units and intangible assets. Based on the results, if the carrying values of our reporting units exceeds their fair values, we record impairment charges to the extent that carrying value exceeds estimated fair value. Long-lived assets to be held and used are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of such assets may not be recoverable. Such assets are required to be tested for impairment if the carrying amount of the assets is higher than the future undiscounted net cash flows expected to be generated from the assets. The impairment amount to be recognized is measured as the amount by which the carrying value of the assets exceeds their fair value.
During the fourth quarter of 2019, we performed our annual impairment test for all of our reporting units. Based on the results, the fair values of each of our reporting units exceeded their carrying values. In addition, during the year 2019 we performed impairment testing of long-lived assets which was triggered as a result of the wind down of the Health Integrated business and we recognized long-lived assets impairment charge for the assets of our Health Integrated business to write down their carrying value to its fair value. However, there can be no assurances that additional long-lived assets, goodwill and intangible assets will not be impaired in future periods (see Note 24 to our consolidated financial statements for further details).
During the fourth quarter of 2018, we performed our annual impairment test of goodwill for all of our reporting units. Based on the results, the fair values of each of our reporting units exceeded its carrying values, except for the Health Integrated reporting unit, within the Healthcare operating segment. The carrying value of our intangible assets acquired as a part of our Health Integrated acquisition also exceeded its fair value. As a result of this analysis, we recognized goodwill and intangible assets impairment charges during the fourth quarter.
We report our financial results in U.S. dollars. However, a significant portion of our total revenues are earned in U.K. pounds sterling (10.2% and 12.7%, respectively, for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018), while a significant portion of our expenses are incurred and paid in Indian rupees (25.6% and 25.0%, respectively, of our total costs for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018) and the Philippine peso (7.9% and 7.1%, of our total costs for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018). The exchange rates among the Indian rupee, the Philippine peso, the U.K. pound sterling and the U.S. dollar have changed substantially in recent years and may fluctuate substantially in the future as well. The results of our operations could be substantially impacted as the Indian rupee, the Philippine peso and the U.K. pound sterling appreciate or depreciate against the U.S. dollar. See Note 2 and 17 to our consolidated financial statements and Item 7A -“Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk-Foreign Currency Risk.”
Interest expense primarily consist of interest on our borrowings under the credit facility and convertible senior notes, capital lease obligation and notional interest implicit in the purchase of property and equipment.
Other Income, net
Other income, net primarily consists of gain/(loss) on sale, mark to market and dividend income on our investments in mutual funds, and interest on time deposits included in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments on our consolidated balance sheets. Other income, net also consists of changes in fair value of earn-out consideration, interest on refunds received from income tax authorities in India on completion of tax assessments and components of net periodic benefit cost such as interest cost, expected return on plan assets and amortization of actuarial gain/loss.
We are subject to income taxes in the United States and other foreign jurisdictions. Our tax expense and cash tax liability in the future could be adversely affected by various factors, including, but not limited to, changes in tax laws, regulations, accounting principles or interpretations and the potential adverse outcome of tax examinations. Changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, which may result from a decline in our profitability or changes in tax rates or legislation, could have a material adverse effect on our tax expense.
During the year 2018, we made an election to change the tax status of most of our controlled foreign corporations (“CFC”) to disregarded entities for U.S. income tax purposes. As a result, we no longer have undistributed earnings in connection with these CFCs. The Transition Tax resulted in previously taxed income (“PTI”) which may be subject to withholding taxes and currency gains or losses upon repatriation. We presently do not intend to distribute PTI of our foreign subsidiaries and have not recorded any deferred taxes related to our investment in foreign subsidiaries. If, in the future, we change our present intention regarding the repatriation of PTI, additional taxes may be required and will be recorded in the period the intention changes.
In 2019, the Government of India introduced a new tax regime for certain Indian companies by enacting the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2019. The new tax regime is optional and provides for a lower tax rate for Indian companies, subject to certain conditions, which among other things includes not availing of specified exemptions or incentives. Some of our Indian subsidiaries have opted for the new tax regime to obtain the benefit of a lower tax rate.
Certain operations centers in India, which were established in Special Economic Zones (“SEZs”), are eligible for tax incentives until 2025. These operations centers are eligible for a 100% income tax exemption for the first 5 years of operations and 50% exemption for a period of 5 years thereafter. During 2019, tax holiday exemption for one of the unit reduced from 50% to nil, which led to the SEZ unit being taxed at the prevailing annual tax rate, which as of December 31, 2019 was 34.95%. We anticipate establishing additional operations centers in SEZs or other tax advantaged locations in the future.
We also benefited from a corporate tax holiday in the Philippines for our operations centers established there over the last several years. The tax holiday expired for few of our centers in 2014, 2016, 2018 and in 2019 and will expire for other centers by year 2022, which may lead to an increase in our overall tax rate. Following the expiry of the tax exemption, income generated from centers in the Philippines will be taxed at the prevailing annual tax rate, which as of December 31, 2019 was 5% of the gross income.
We recognize deferred tax assets and liabilities for temporary differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and operating loss carry forwards. We determine if a valuation allowance is required or not on the basis of an assessment of whether it is more likely than not that a deferred tax asset will be realized.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
The discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based upon the financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”). A summary of our significant accounting policies is included in Note 2 -“Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to our consolidated financial statements. We consider the policies discussed below to be critical to an understanding of our consolidated financial statements, as their application places the most significant demands on management’s judgment regarding matters that are inherently uncertain at the time an estimate is made. These policies include revenue recognition, allowance for doubtful receivables, business combinations, goodwill, intangibles and long-lived assets, stock-based compensation, derivative instruments and hedging activity, borrowings, assumptions related to lease liabilities, ROU assets, lease cost, income taxes and assets and obligations related to employee benefit plans. These accounting policies and the associated risks are set out below. Future events may not develop exactly as forecasted and estimates routinely require adjustment.
Revenue is recognized when services are provided to our customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration which we expect to be entitled to in exchange for the services provided.
Revenue is measured based on consideration specified in a contract with a customer and excludes discounts and amounts collected on behalf of third parties. We recognize revenue when we satisfy a performance obligation by providing services to a customer.
Taxes assessed by a governmental authority that are both imposed on and concurrent with a specific revenue-producing transaction, that are collected by us from a customer, are excluded from revenue.
Arrangements with Multiple Performance Obligations
We sometimes enter into contracts with our clients which include promises to transfer multiple products and services to the client. Determining whether products and services are considered as distinct performance obligations that should be accounted for separately rather than as one performance obligation may require significant judgment. The transaction price is allocated to performance obligations on relative standalone selling price basis.
Judgment is also required to determine the standalone selling price for each distinct performance obligation. In instances where the standalone selling price is not directly observable, it is determined using information that may include market conditions and other observable inputs.
Variability in the transaction price arises primarily due to service level agreements, pre-payment and volume discounts.
We consider our experience with similar transactions and expectations regarding the contract in estimating the amount of variable consideration that should be recognized during a period.
We believe that the expected value method is most appropriate for determining the variable consideration since we have a large number of contracts with similar nature of transactions/services.
Type of Contracts requires judgments
Revenues for our fixed-price contracts are recognized using costs incurred to date relative to total estimated costs at completion to measure progress toward satisfying our performance obligations. Incurred cost represents work performed, which corresponds with, and thereby best depicts, the transfer of control to the client. The use of this method requires significant judgment to estimate the cost required to complete the contracted scope of work, including assumptions and estimates relative to the length of time to complete the project and the nature and complexity of the work to be performed and resources engaged. We regularly monitor these estimates throughout the execution of the project and record changes in the period in which a change in an estimate is determined. If a change in an estimate results in a projected loss on a project, such loss is recognized in the period in which it is first identified.
Revenues from reimbursement optimization services having contingent fee arrangements are recognized by us at the point in time when a performance obligation is satisfied, which is when we identify an overpayment claim. In such contracts, our consideration is contingent upon the actual collections made by our customers and net of any subsequent retraction claims. Based on guidance on “variable consideration” in Topic 606, we use our historical experience and projections to determine the expected recoveries from our customers and recognize revenue based upon such expected recoveries. Any adjustment required due to change in estimates are recorded in the period in which such change is identified.
For additional information, see Note 5 (Revenues) to our Consolidated Financial Statements under Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
Unbilled receivables represent revenues recognized for services rendered between the last billing date and the balance sheet date. Unbilled receivables also include revenues recognized from reimbursement optimization services where we identify an overpayment claim. In such contracts, our consideration is contingent upon and collectable only when the actual collections are made by our customers. Based on guidance on “variable consideration” in Topic 606, we use our historical experience and projections to determine the expected recoveries from our customers and recognize revenue and receivables based upon such expected recoveries. Accordingly, the amounts for which services have been performed and for which invoices have not been issued to customers on the balance sheet date, (i.e. unbilled receivables) are presented under accounts receivable.
Deferred Revenue and contract fulfillment costs
We have contract liabilities (deferred revenue) consisting of advance billings and billing in excess of revenues recognized. Deferred revenue also includes the amount for which services have been rendered but other conditions of revenue recognition are not met, for example where we do not have an enforceable contract.
Further, we also defer revenues attributable to certain process transition activities, with respect to our customers where such activities do not represent separate performance obligations. Revenues related to such transition activities are classified under “Deferred Revenue” and “Other Non-Current Liabilities” in our consolidated balance sheets and are recognized ratably over the period during which the related services are performed.
Costs related to such transition activities are contract fulfillment costs, and thereby classified under “Other Current Assets” and “Other Assets” in the consolidated balance sheets, and are recognized over the estimated expected period of benefit, under Cost of Revenues in the consolidated statements of income.
Contract Acquisition Costs
Direct and incremental costs incurred for acquiring contracts, such as sales commissions are contract acquisition costs and thereby classified under “Other Current Assets” and “Other Assets” in the consolidated balance sheets. Such costs are amortized over the expected period of benefit and recorded under Selling and marketing expenses in the consolidated statements of income.
Upfront Payment Made to Customers
Upfront payments in nature of deal signing discount or deal signing bonuses made to customers are contract assets and classified under “Other Current Assets and Other Assets” in the consolidated balance sheets. Such costs are amortized over the expected period of benefit and are recorded as an adjustment to transaction price and reduced from revenues.
Allowance for doubtful receivables
We record accounts receivable net of allowances for doubtful accounts. Allowances for doubtful accounts are established through the evaluation of aging of accounts receivables, prior collection experience, current market conditions, clients’ financial condition and the amount of accounts receivable in dispute to estimate the collectability of these accounts receivable.
We account for all business combinations using the acquisition method of accounting as prescribed by Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 805, “Business Combinations”. The guidance requires the use of significant estimates and assumptions in allocation of the purchase price in determining the fair value of identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed, including intangible assets and contingent consideration and allocation of purchase price over such assets and liabilities on the acquisition date. The significant estimates and assumptions include, but are not limited to, the timing and amount of future revenue and cash flows based on, among other things, anticipated growth rates and customer attrition rates and the discount rate reflecting the risk inherent in future cash flows.
Goodwill, Intangible Assets and Long-lived Assets
Goodwill represents the cost of the acquired businesses in excess of the fair value of identifiable tangible and intangible net assets purchased in a business combination. Goodwill is not amortized but is tested for impairment at least on an annual basis, relying on a number of factors including operating results, business plans and estimated future cash flows of the reporting units to which it is assigned. We undertake studies to determine the fair values of assets and liabilities acquired and allocate purchase consideration to assets and liabilities, including property and equipment, goodwill and other identifiable intangibles. We examine the carrying value of the goodwill annually in the fourth quarter, or more frequently, as circumstances warrant, to determine whether there are any impairment losses. We test for goodwill impairment at the reporting unit level.
The quantitative goodwill impairment test involves a comparison of the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount. We estimate the fair value of a reporting unit using a combination of the income approach, using discounted cash flow analysis (“DCF model”), and also the market approach, using market multiples for reporting units whereby the fair value is not substantially in excess of carrying value. Under the income approach, fair value is determined based on the present value of estimated future cash flows, discounted at an appropriate risk-adjusted rate. We use our internal forecasts to estimate future cash flows and include an estimate of long-term future growth rates based on our most recent views of the long-term outlook for each business. Actual results may differ from those assumed in our forecasts. Discount rate assumptions are based on an assessment of the risk inherent in the future cash flows of the respective reporting units. The discount rate is mainly based on judgment of the specific risk inherent within each reporting unit. The variables within the discount rate, many of which are outside of our control, provide us best estimate of all assumptions applied within the DCF model. Discount rates used in our reporting unit valuations range from 9.0% to 11%. We use the “Market approach” to corroborate the results of the income approach. Under the market approach, we estimate fair value based on market multiples of revenues and earnings derived from comparable publicly-traded companies with characteristics similar to the reporting unit and comparable market transactions. The estimates used to calculate the fair value of a reporting unit change from year to year based on operating results, market conditions and other factors. Changes in these estimates and assumptions could materially affect the determination of fair value for each reporting unit.
During the fourth quarter of 2019, we performed our annual impairment test of goodwill for all our reporting units that had goodwill recorded. Key assumptions used in determining the fair value of our reporting units was a long-term revenue growth rate in the terminal year of 3.0% and discount rates ranging from 9.0% to 11.0%. Based on the results, the fair value of each of our reporting units exceeded their carrying value and our goodwill was not impaired. However, for the SCIO reporting unit within the Analytics reportable segment, the fair value was not substantially in excess of its carrying value. The SCIO reporting unit was formed as a result of our SCIO acquisition in July 2018 and the fair value was set at the time of acquisition. As of December 31, 2019, the goodwill associated with the SCIO reporting unit was $163.8 million, representing approximately 47.0% of our total goodwill, and the percentage by which the fair value of the SCIO reporting unit exceeded the carrying value as of the date of the most recent annual impairment test was approximately 10.0%. While the goodwill of this reporting unit is not currently impaired, there could be an impairment in the future as a result of changes in certain assumptions. For example, the fair value could be adversely affected and may result in an impairment of goodwill if this reporting unit is not able to expand its existing customer relationships, win new clients, improve profitability, the estimated cash flows are discounted at a higher risk-adjusted rate, or the market multiples decreases. We also believe that it is possible that our actual revenue growth rates could be higher than the long-term revenue growth rates used in the impairment test due to a number of factors, including (i) continued demand for our reimbursement and care optimization services to help clients identify overpayments and enhance their claims payment accuracy, and (ii) our ability to offer integrated solutions by leveraging technology platforms, digital, customizable and configurable analytics to deliver better business outcomes for our clients. We believe that the discount rate utilized is appropriate to use for our future cash flow assumptions considering current market conditions. However, keeping all other variables constant, a further 50 basis points increase in discount rate will decrease the percentage by which the fair value exceeds the carrying value of our SCIO reporting unit to 6.0%. We continue to monitor the cash flows of the SCIO reporting unit for changes in the business environment that could impact recoverability.
Determining fair value requires the use of estimates and exercise of significant judgment, including assumptions about appropriate discount rates, perpetual growth rates, amount and timing of expected future cash flows, market multiples of revenues and earnings and comparable market transactions. These estimates and judgements may not be within our control and accordingly it is reasonably possible that the estimates and judgments described above could change in future periods. There can be no assurance that operations will achieve the future cash flows reflected in the projections. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, an impairment loss shall be recognized, in an amount equal to that excess, limited to the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit.
We review long-lived assets and certain identifiable intangibles for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. In general, we will recognize an impairment loss when the sum of discounted expected future cash flows is less than the carrying amount of such asset. The estimate of discounted cash flows and the fair value of assets require several assumptions and estimates like the weighted average cost of capital, discount rates, risk-free rates, market rate of return and risk premiums and can be affected by a variety of factors, including external factors such as industry and economic trends, and internal factors such as changes in our business strategy and our internal forecasts. Although we believe the historical assumptions and estimates we have made are reasonable and appropriate, different assumptions and estimates could materially impact our reported financial results. See Note 2-“Summary of Significant Accounting Policies-Business Combinations, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets” to our consolidated financial statements for more information.
Under the fair value recognition provisions of ASC Topic 718, Compensation-Stock Compensation (“ASC No. 718”), cost is measured at the grant date based on the fair value of the award and is amortized on a straight-line basis over the requisite service periods of the awards, which is generally the vesting period.
Determining the fair value of stock-based awards at the grant date requires significant judgment, including estimating the expected term over which the stock awards will be outstanding before they are exercised and the expected volatility of our stock.
We also grant performance-based restricted stock units (“PRSUs”) to executive officers and other specified employees. 50% of the PRSUs cliff vest at the end of a three-year period based on an aggregated revenue target (“PUs”) for a three year period. The remaining 50% vest based on a market condition (“MUs”) that is contingent on EXL meeting or exceeding the total shareholder return relative to a group of peer companies specified under the program, measured over a three-year performance period. The award recipient may earn up to two hundred percent (200%) of the PRSUs granted based on the actual achievements of both targets.
The fair value of each PU is determined based on the market price of one share of our common stock on the day prior to the date of grant. The grant date fair value for the MUs is determined using a Monte Carlo simulation model. The Monte Carlo simulation model simulates a range of possible future stock prices and estimates the probabilities of the potential payouts. The Monte Carlo simulation model also involves the use of additional key assumptions, including dividend yield and risk-free interest rate. We periodically assess the reasonableness of our assumptions and update our estimates as required. If actual results differ significantly from our estimates, stock-based compensation expense and our results of operations could be materially affected.
Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities
In the normal course of business, we actively look to mitigate the exposure of foreign currency market risk associated with forecasted transactions denominated in certain foreign currencies and to minimize earnings and cash flow volatility associated with changes in foreign currency exchange rates by entering into various foreign currency exchange forward contracts, with counterparties that are highly rated financial institutions.
We hedge forecasted transactions that are subject to foreign exchange exposure with foreign currency exchange contracts that qualify as cash flow hedges. Changes in the fair value of these cash flow hedges are recorded as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income/(loss), net of tax, until the hedged transactions occurs. Effective January 1, 2017, the resultant foreign exchange gain/(loss) upon settlement of cash flow hedges are recorded along with the underlying hedged item in the same line in the consolidated statements of income as either part of “Cost of revenues”, “General and administrative expenses”, “Selling and marketing expenses”, or "Depreciation and amortization expense”, as applicable.
We also use derivative instruments consisting of foreign currency exchange contracts to economically hedge intercompany balances and other monetary assets or liabilities denominated in currencies other than the functional currency. These derivatives do not qualify as fair value hedges. Changes in the fair value of these derivatives are recognized in the consolidated statements of income and are included in foreign exchange gain/(loss).
We determine the fair value of our derivatives based on market observable inputs including both forward and spot prices for currencies. Derivative assets and liabilities included in Level 2 primarily represent foreign currency forward contracts. The quotes are taken primarily from independent sources, including highly rated financial institutions.
We evaluate hedge effectiveness of cash flow hedges at the time a contract is entered into as well as on an ongoing basis. For hedge relationships that are discontinued because the forecasted transaction is not expected to occur by the end of the originally specified period, any related derivative amounts recorded in equity are reclassified to earnings.
We use forward contracts designated as net investment hedges to hedge the foreign currency risks related to our investment in foreign subsidiaries. Gains and losses on these forward contracts are recognized in AOCI as part of the foreign currency translation adjustment.
We account for convertible notes in accordance with the guidelines established by the ASC No. 470-20, Debt with Conversion and Other Options. We separate the convertible notes into liability and equity components. The Beneficial Conversion Feature ("BCF") of a convertible note, which is the equity component and recorded as additional paid-in capital, is normally characterized as the convertible portion or feature of certain notes payable that provide a rate of conversion that is below market value or in-the-money when issued. We record a BCF related to the issuance of a convertible notes when issued.
If a convertible note is within the scope of the Cash Conversion Subsections contains embedded features other than the embedded conversion option, the guidance in ASC No. 815-15, Derivatives and Hedging - Embedded Derivatives (“ASC 815-15”), is applied to determine if any of those features must be separately accounted for as a derivative instrument.
The estimated fair value of the liability component at issuance is determined using a discounted cash flow technique, which considers debt issuances with similar features of our convertible notes, excluding the conversion feature. The excess of the gross proceeds received over the estimated fair value of the liability component is allocated to the BCF, which is credited to additional paid-in-capital with a corresponding offset recognized as a discount to reduce the net carrying value of the convertible notes. The discount is being amortized to interest expense over the expected term of the convertible notes using the effective interest method.
Direct, incremental finance costs related to the convertible notes are amortized over the term instrument through charges to interest expense using the effective interest method.
We account for income tax using the asset and liability method. Under this method, income tax expense is recognized for the amount of taxes payable or refundable for the current year. In addition, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized in respect of future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their tax bases and operating losses carried forward, if any. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using the anticipated tax rates for the years in which such temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. We recognize the effect of a change in tax rates on deferred tax assets and liabilities during the period in which the new tax rate was enacted or the change in tax status was filed or approved. Deferred tax assets are recognized in full, subject to a valuation allowance that reduces the amount recognized to that which is more likely than not to be realized. In assessing the likelihood of realization, we consider all available evidence for each jurisdiction including past operating results, estimates of future taxable income and the feasibility of tax planning strategies. With respect to any entity that benefits from a corporate tax holiday, deferred tax assets or liabilities for existing temporary differences are recorded only to the extent such temporary differences are expected to reverse following the expiration of the tax holiday.
We also evaluate potential exposures related to tax contingencies or claims made by the tax authorities in various jurisdictions in order to determine whether a reserve may be required. A reserve is recorded if we believe that a loss is probable and if the amount of such loss can be reasonably estimated. Such reserves are based on estimates and, consequently, are subject to changing facts and circumstances, including the progress of ongoing audits, changes in case law and the passage of new legislation. We believe that we have established adequate reserves to cover any current tax assessments.
During the year 2018, we made an election to change the tax status of most of our controlled foreign corporations (“CFC”) to disregarded entities for U.S. income tax purposes. As a result, we no longer have undistributed earnings in connection with these CFCs. The Transition Tax resulted in previously taxed income (“PTI”) which may be subject to withholding taxes and currency gains or losses upon repatriation. We presently do not intend to distribute PTI of our foreign subsidiaries and have not recorded any deferred taxes related to our investment in foreign subsidiaries. If, in the future, we change our present intention regarding the repatriation of PTI, additional taxes may be required and will be recorded in the period the intention changes. See Note 22 to our consolidated financial statements contained herein.
We employ a two-step process for recognizing and measuring uncertain tax positions. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining, based on the technical merits, that the position will, more likely than not, be sustained upon examination. The second step is to measure the tax benefit as the largest amount of the tax benefit that is more likely than not to be realized upon settlement.
We record contributions to defined contribution plans to the consolidated statements of income in the period in which services are rendered by the covered employees. Current service costs for defined benefit plans are accrued in the period to which they relate. The liability in respect of defined benefit plans is calculated annually by using the projected unit credit method and various actuarial assumptions including discount rates, mortality, expected return on assets, expected increase in the compensation rates and attrition rates. We evaluate these critical assumptions at least annually. If actual results differ significantly from our estimates, current service costs for defined benefit plans and our results of operations could be materially impacted.
We recognize the liabilities for compensated absences dependent on whether the obligation is attributable to employee services already rendered, relates to rights that vest or accumulate and payment is probable and estimable.
We account for a lease at the inception of the contract. ROU assets represent our right to use an underlying asset during the lease term and lease liabilities represent our obligation to make lease payments arising from the lease. Operating lease ROU assets and liabilities are recognized at commencement date based on the present value of lease payments over the lease term.
For leases in which the rate implicit in the lease is not readily determinable, we use our incremental borrowing rate at commencement date by adjusting the benchmark reference rates, applicable to the respective geographies where the leases are entered, with appropriate financing spreads and lease specific adjustments for the effects of collateral.
Lease term includes our assessment for the effects of options to extend or terminate the lease. We consider the extension option as part of our lease term for those lease arrangements where we are reasonably certain that we will exercise that option. Lease expense for operating lease arrangements is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. We have lease agreements with lease and non-lease components, which are accounted for separately.
Loss contingencies are recorded as liabilities when a loss is considered probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated. When a material loss contingency is reasonably possible but not probable, we do not record a liability, but instead disclose the nature and the amount of the claim, and an estimate of the loss or range of loss, if such an estimate can be made. Significant judgment is required in the determination of both probability and whether an exposure is reasonably estimable. Our judgments are subjective and based on the information available from the status of the legal or regulatory proceedings, the merits of our defenses and consultation with in-house and outside legal counsel. As additional information becomes available, we reassess any potential liability related to any pending litigation and may revise our estimates. Such revisions in estimates of any potential liabilities could have a material impact on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.
Results of Operations
The following table summarizes our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017:
Year ended December 31,
(dollars in millions)
Cost of revenues (1)
Gross profit (1)
General and administrative expenses
Selling and marketing expenses
Depreciation and amortization expense
Impairment and restructuring charges
Total operating expenses
Income from operations
Foreign exchange gain, net
Other income, net
Income before income tax expense and earnings from equity affiliates
Income tax expense
Income before earnings from equity affiliates
Loss from equity-method investment
Net income attributable to ExlService Holdings, Inc. stockholders
(1) Exclusive of depreciation and amortization expense.
Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2018
The following table summarizes our revenues by reportable segments for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:
Year ended December 31,
(dollars in millions)
Travel, Transportation and Logistics
Finance and Accounting
Total revenues, net
Revenues for the year ended December 31, 2019 were $991.3 million, up $108.2 million, or 12.3%, compared to the year ended December 31, 2018.
Revenue growth in Insurance of $36.1 million was primarily driven by expansion of business from our existing clients and new wins aggregating to $38.6 million. This was partially offset by $2.5 million mainly attributable to the depreciation of the Australian dollar, Indian rupee, U.K. pound sterling and South African ZAR against the U.S. dollar during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. Insurance revenues were 29.7% and 29.2% of our total revenues in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Revenue growth in Healthcare of $6.2 million was primarily driven by expansion of business from our existing clients and new wins aggregating to $11.4 million, partially offset by lower revenues from our Health Integrated business of $5.2 million. Healthcare revenues were 9.1% and 9.6% of our total revenues during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, respectively.
Revenue decline in Travel, Transportation and Logistics ("TT&L") of $2.2 million was primarily driven by $1.9 million attributable to lower revenues from our existing clients and $0.3 million attributable to the depreciation of the Indian rupee and the Euro against the U.S. dollar during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. TT&L revenues were 6.9% and 8.0% of our total revenues during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, respectively.
Revenue growth in Finance and Accounting ("F&A") of $8.7 million was driven by expansion of business from our existing clients and new wins aggregating to $9.7 million. This was partially offset by $1.0 million mainly attributable to the depreciation of the Indian rupee, U.K. pound sterling, the Euro and Australian dollar against the U.S. dollar during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. F&A revenues were 10.8% and 11.1% of our total revenues during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, respectively.
Revenue decline in All Other of $12.6 million was primarily driven by lower revenues from project based engagements and lower revenues from existing clients. Further decline of $1.6 million was due to the depreciation of the Indian rupee and U.K. pound sterling against the U.S. dollar during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. All Other revenues were 7.5% and 9.9% of our total revenues during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, respectively.
Revenue growth in Analytics of $72.0 million was primarily driven by our acquisition of SCIO in July 2018 and increase in revenues from our recurring and project-based engagements from our new and existing clients. This was partially offset by $1.0 million attributable to the depreciation of the U.K. pound sterling and Indian rupee against the U.S. dollar during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. Analytics revenues were 36.0% and 32.3% of our total revenues during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, respectively.
Cost of Revenues and Gross Margin: The following table sets forth cost of revenues and gross margin of our reportable segments.
Cost of Revenues
Year ended December 31,
Year ended December 31,
(dollars in millions)
For the year ended December 31, 2019, cost of revenues was $655.5 million compared to $584.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of $70.7 million, or 12.1%. Our gross margin for the year ended December 31, 2019 was 33.9% compared to 33.8% for year ended December 31, 2018.
The increase in cost of revenues in Insurance of $24.8 million was primarily due to an increase in employee-related costs of $23.6 million on account of higher headcount and wage inflation, increase in technology cost of $2.4 million and increase in infrastructure and travel cost of $2.4 million. This was partially offset by lower other operating costs of $1.4 million and currency movements, net of hedging of $2.2 million. Gross margin in Insurance decreased by 10 bps during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, primarily due to higher operating expenses.
The increase in cost of revenues in Healthcare of $6.9 million was primarily due to an increase in employee-related costs of $7.4 million and higher other operating costs of $0.5 million, partially offset by currency movements, net of hedging of $1.0 million. Gross margin in Healthcare decreased by 220 bps during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, primarily due to higher operating expenses associated with the initiation of services for new and existing clients.
The decrease in cost of revenues in TT&L of $2.4 million was primarily due to lower infrastructure costs of $0.8 million, lower employee-related costs of $0.5 million and other operating costs of $0.3 million. The remaining decrease of $0.8 million was due to currency movements, net of hedging. Gross margin in TT&L increased by 150 bps during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, primarily due to lower operating expenses.
The increase in cost of revenues in F&A of $4.1 million was primarily due to an increase in employee-related costs of $4.4 million on account of higher headcount and wage inflation and higher other operating costs of $0.1 million. This was partially offset by currency movements, net of hedging of $0.4 million. Gross margin in F&A increased by 100 bps during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, primarily due to expansion in margin in existing clients.
The decrease in cost of revenues in All Other of $9.3 million was primarily due to a decrease in employee-related costs of $7.5 million, lower travel costs of $1.2 million, lower infrastructure costs of $1.0 million and currency movements, net of hedging of $0.9 million. This was partially offset by higher technology costs of $0.8 million and other operating costs of $0.5 million. Gross margin in All Other increased by 160 bps during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018, primarily due to margin improvement across clients in operations management services.
The increase in cost of revenues in Analytics of $46.6 million was primarily due to an increase in employee-related costs of $42.7 million on account of higher headcount and wage inflation, including incremental cost related to our acquisition of SCIO in July 2018. The remaining increase was attributable to other operating costs of $5.8 million, partially offset by currency movements, net of hedging of $1.9 million. Gross margin in Analytics during 2019 as compared to 2018 was flat.
Selling, General and Administrative (“SG&A”) Expenses.
Year ended December 31,
(dollars in millions)
General and administrative expenses
Selling and marketing expenses
Selling, general and administrative expenses
As a percentage of revenues
The increase in SG&A expenses of $18.9 million was primarily due to an increase in employee-related costs of $19.5 million, including incremental costs related to our SCIO acquisition in July 2018 and net increase in other operating costs of $1.0 million. This was partially offset by currency movements, net of hedging of $1.6 million.
Depreciation and Amortization Expense.
Year ended December 31,
(dollars in millions)
Intangible amortization expense
Depreciation and amortization expense
As a percentage of revenues
The increase in depreciation expense of $2.2 million was due to depreciation related to our new operating centers to support our business growth and depreciation associated with our SCIO acquisition of $2.8 million. This was partially offset by currency movements, net of hedging of $0.6 million. The increase in intangibles amortization expense of $1.2 million was primarily due to amortization of intangibles associated with our SCIO acquisition in July 2018, partially offset by the impact of amortization of intangibles related to Health Integrated acquisition which were impaired during the fourth quarter of 2018.
Impairment and Restructuring Charges.
Year ended December 31,
(dollars in millions)
Impairment and restructuring charges
As a percentage of revenues