In an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune's Niaz Mahmud, eGeneration Limited’s Managing Director Shameem Ahsan discusses the current status of his company and ICT sector. Shameem is chairman of Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of Bangladesh (VCPEAB). He is also a former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).
eGeneration is also going public. It wants to raise Tk15 crore to buy commercial spec digital platform solutions and new market development through initial public offering (IPO) under the fixed price method.
Why does your company want to go public?
Being the first software technology company in Bangladesh to go for IPO, we would like to share our success with the general public and small investors on our path to transform Bangladesh into an innovative high-tech nation.
If we look at the Nasdaq, we will see that all the top 10 stocks are technology firms. However, in our stock market, the scenario has been very different.
We wanted to pave the way for other technology companies in Bangladesh to get inspired from our success, raise funds from the local market and share their accomplishments with small investors.
Moreover, we want to include more overseas clients. Getting our company listed with the stock market will give them a confidence boost in our services and offerings.
What is the profile of eGeneration Limited? What is its latest financial status?
eGeneration is very proud to be a part of the Digital Bangladesh journey and government’s Vision 2021.
Some of our notable projects over the years include HR-PMS for Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Queue Management System for Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IPA Transcription System for Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, workflow and security solutions for Ministry of Planning, data center establishment for Bangladesh Army and several government IT training projects.
We achieved a revenue growth of 18% in 2018-19 and 28% in the year before that.
Our net profit margin was also in line with the global benchmark of IT/ITES companies in those years.
Where do you plan to invest the funds raised from the IPO. How will it increase the company’s revenue?
We will use the proceeds from the IPO to develop digital healthcare platform to help automate our healthcare sector which is one of our major focuses going forward, repay a major portion of our long-term debt to reduce our cost of capital, and purchase commercial office space which will minimize our operating expenses and ease bank financing in the future.
We predict that these initiatives will take our yearly revenue to Tk57 crore by 2022.
What steps do you take for good governance in your company?
We have a committed and engaged board of directors including two prominent independent directors, a management committee to help the BOD, an internal audit committee, a risk committee, and a corporate compliance committee.
Before taking any important decision for the company, several discussions are taken with these committees to ensure check and balance.
Can you tell us about the progress of Bangladeshi businesses and corporate firms in terms of adopting technology?
The Covid-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst in technology adoption across industries.
We have already witnessed rapid adoption of remote work tools during the lockdown where eGeneration played a pioneering role.
We have also seen a surge in demand for modern workplace solutions, robotic process automation, e-learning, AI-based tools, data analytics, fin-tech and health-tech solutions across financial services industry, manufacturing, healthcare, education and government sector.
What are the challenges faced by the IT sector after the pandemic?
The IT sector experienced a temporary setback due to slowdown in investment and decline in services during the pandemic.
However, almost every sector’s willingness to embrace technology to better leverage growth has introduced a multitude of opportunities for our sector.
In the last month alone, we closed several high value deals with a private commercial bank, a multinational company, and the Ministry of Planning for different IT solutions.
How can the government help the sector create jobs and retain the existing employment through budgetary measures?
The government should give high priority to its IT projects and expedite IT investments in sectors like healthcare, education, and food security, which will help us become more resilient to pandemic like this and create many employment opportunities.
They can also introduce a more favorable tax structure for local companies compared to their foreign counterparts to help them grow.
It can also offer tax incentives to companies who will implement ERP which can help them become more efficient, generate more revenue, create more jobs, and because of the added transparency through ERP implementation, government’s tax income will also increase.