In an interview with CNBC-TV18’s Priya Seth, Robin Raina, chairman and CEO of Ebix Inc, talks about various aspects of his company’s deal with global money transfer and payment services player MoneyGram. EbixCash, a fully owned subsidiary of Ebix, on Monday signed an agreement with global money transfer and payment services player MoneyGram to expand its presence in India. Through this agreement, EbixCash will be MoneyGram’s exclusive partner in the country. The company said that the aim of this partnership was to increase inward remittance volumes to $3 billion annually. Here are edited excerpts: Run us through this partnership with EbixCash, what will it mean in terms of touch points and a larger distribution plan out there?
Currently, EbixCash has a network of about 320,000 franchises across the country. This deal is all about providing MoneyGram access to that. MoneyGram made a strategic decision to go with us exclusively, which means that all the existing agents of MoneyGram in India will now become sub-agents of EbixCash.
All the new agents will be sub-agents when the company grows, as MoneyGram brings in $3 billion into India. EbixCash will be handling all the cash with through its franchise network across the country.
If you break up the whole monetary structure, what kind of commission structure you have as part of this deal?
The commission numbers are obviously confidential, so I would not be able to tell you. At this point, let us put it that it is a very lucrative deal for both sides. For MoneyGram - they get access to the vast network of EbixCash allowing it to sign larger deals because it is a destination-end, and we can handle that through our network.
For EbixCash, it is a lucrative deal simply because we have an exclusive, we expect this to be a very high-margin intensive deal for us purely because of the fact that we have already invested in our infrastructure, our delta-cost.
At this point in time, EbixCash has about $6.5 billion in terms of inward remittances and we understand that this partnership could bring in incremental business of about $3 billion. So, run us through what is the kind of time-frame for this and how are you looking at scaling this up?
The part about bringing new money into India – that part is going to be handled by MoneyGram simply because they are at the origination-end where the money is handed over whether it is coming from Middle East or Australia or Europe or US or wherever.
We are at the destination-end, we are at the end where we handover the money.
So for us, this is more of a servicing job wherein we follow all the compliance and make sure all the KYCs (know your customer) are followed, but virtually in minutes of a money being handed over in Boston at MoneyGram’s retail location, we would be able to handover that money virtually all across our franchise network, all across our country.
For us, this is the way we scale it up. We already have an existing network, we account for the vast majority of Western Union’s remittance destination business. Therefore, we account for a vast majority of Riyad’s inward remittance business in India.
Will this partnership require anymore incremental investment from Ebix?Frankly very little, because we are very heavily invested already in terms of our infrastructure, in terms of our franchise network. So, there is very little incremental investment required from an EbixCash perspective. I think the only investment mainly is in the area of marketing; people did not know about what we are trying to do, evolve a common MoneyGram EbixCash brand in the country.
You are targeting about $25-30 million in terms of revenue via this partnership. How are you going to scale this up and annually when do you think these revenues will start ticking in?
They will start kicking in immediately. It is not a long term deal, it is not like the deal will take time to get us the revenues. The revenues will start kicking in immediately. So, we expect to continue to scale it up. The numbers we gave of $20-35 million, these numbers could be a lot larger, it will all depend on the amount of money that is flowing into India. These are highly conservative numbers that we have given, we expect the numbers to be a lot better than this.
I also wanted to talk to you about Yatra, an acquisition that you did last year in July. I wanted to understand have all the approvals come in as far as this deal is concerned and second, when we spoke you said that the combined entity would have a revenue run rate of about $600 million by the end of 2019. So how far are we on that?
Let me take a step back and tell you with respect to Yatra. In case of Yatra, we are virtually a day away from filing S4. S4 is a document that you have to file as per security rules.
You send out a document for shareholder approval. So Ebix doesn’t need a shareholders’ approval. Yatra needs the shareholder approval for the deal. The board of Yatra has unanimously recommended that shareholders approve the transaction. So, that is a process that is going to play out over the next few months–-that’s a regulatory process that needs to be followed. So, we are actively moving forward.
I didn’t get your question on what you said regarding $100 million combined revenue run rate.
You are $expecting the combined entity to have 600 billion revenue run rate by the end of 2019?
Okay. There were two numbers I had talked about. One was in terms of what we are targeting for once we assimilate Yatra into it, we are targeting that some time by June of 2020 we would like to be at a run rate of about $145 million a quarter just for EbixCash in India and that goal still remains intact and we think that’s highly achievable.
So, once Yatra is assimilated that is what we will target which means $145 million a quarter means a run rate of around $580 million a year.
So, we are still much focused on that number and at the same time the key thing that we like to talk about is we don’t just talk about revenues.
EbixCash has been a unique story in the market when you look back at a few days when there was an article about three large players in India which collectively lost a billion dollar last year in the financial exchange market when EbixCash has been a story wherein we have been running the company with 30 percent operating margins and that still remains our message.
We would like to get to $145 million a quarter mark with a 30 percent operating margin intact. So, to me these goals go hand in hand, the revenue and profitability goal.
A question on the IPO and that’s what the street has been watching out for and when we spoke last you said the second quarter of 2020 was when we could expect some sort of action on that front. Run us through where it stands at this point.
At this point, we are at a stage where we have already appointed bankers. We have 3 bankers – ICICI, Edelweiss and Axis -- who are our bankers, book runners. ICICI is the lead banker. Other than the book runners we intend to appoint two more international banks.
We have hired three sets of attorneys; two domestic and one international attorney. We have also signed up an analyst firm. Having said that under the law we are supposed to get our audit done till March and once we get the audit done till March, the three-year audit then you have 135 days to file your IPO and that is what we are still focused on.
Which means that practically it all depends on Sebi guidelines and it all depends on how much time it takes. Presently we are targeting July or August as the time-frame for the IPO.