Free Press Journal

‘2017 was the beginning for acquisitions’, says Robin Raina


NASDAQ-traded Ebix Inc has been on an acquisition spree across Asia since early 2017. The software solutions provider expects to pursue both the organic and inorganic growth routes in 2018. Speaking to the Free Press Journal’s Jescilia Karayamparambil, Robin Raina, Chairman, Ebix, said the firm aims to be the largest financial and insurance solutions provider.

What is Ebix’s vision for Indian market?
The company has a very simple goal. We want to be the largest financial and insurance player in the country. We are a global company with ambitious plans. We will keep expanding across the board. In India, we see an amazing opportunity centred on Indian youth, who are more ambitious. Lately, the country has seen a lot of wealth creation and when you create wealth you want to preserve it and have more option around it.
Recently, Ebix and BSE entered into a pact to set up an insurance distribution network. Through this joint venture, we will offer so many solutions but differently. It is like a one stop destination. It is about bringing valve to the consumer with higher efficiency and cheaper products. While doing that we want to create a framework where businesses can be very fast.
I plan to converge all these services, as it is the same consumer who wants to buy financial, travel and insurance services. In India, people are going to multiple websites and various outlets. In the process, we will create the largest insurance, finance and healthcare services that India has ever seen.

When you plan to break-even in India?
Ebix worldwide always had one focus. This is based on our learning that if we cannot make profits there is no need to be in the business. Many companies in India are giving money to their customers in form of cashbacks and they are exhausting their funds but that is not Ebix model. Ebix wants to create a model based on pure profitability. Ebix never gets involved in non-profit endeavours. We are a highly profitable country worldwide. Ebix’s operating profit margin are in the rate of 35 per cent. Everything we do in India is touching that margins today. We are talking about breaking even, Ebix makes those margins in India.

Will there be any more acquisitions in pipeline?
Yes, there are many more acquisitions. But I cannot talk about the future as we are a listed company. But I can talk about sectors—e-learning, lending, travel, money movement, remittance business— which we are looking at. It is already out in public that Ebix is in the bidding process for Educomp. We were just getting started in 2017. You will see lot more from our side.

Why is Ebix interested in  e-learning?
Education is the foundation of everything. If we want to grow financial or insurance exchanges, there is a need for skilled people. The basic problem with India is the lowest education standards. I think standardised learning is the key. I believe quality learning to a large number of people can be possible only through e-learning. We appreciate companies like Educomp that has various tools like 25,000 courses to large number of schools. We feel that it is a key asset.
Apart from e-learning, we would also like to be in a space that will help parents pay fees of their children. We would like to take e-learning to every nook and corner of the country through our physical and digital outlet. This e-learning process can take place in our outlets. We feel there is a lot of convergence possible.

Ebix has already spent USD 200 million in India on acquisition. How much more would the company invest?
We do not have any limits as of now but we will invest within sensible limits to grow our business.

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