Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Telus International’s revenue got a boost from its recent acquisitions during its first quarter as a public company, and its chief executive officer sees further growth on the horizon as the global economy begins to emerge from the pandemic.

The offshoot of Telus Corp. , which began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange in February, increased its first-quarter revenue by 57 per cent to $505-million. Stripping out the impact of its recent acquisitions of data annotator Lionbridge and Berlin-based content moderator Competence Call Center, Telus International’s quarterly revenue grew by 20 per cent, the company said in a news release on Friday.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic created opportunities for the business and IT services company by accelerating the global shift to a digital economy, some of Telus International’s customers – notably in the ride-sharing and travel industries – took a hit, president and chief executive officer Jeff Puritt said.

Story continues below advertisement

“We are already starting to see pick-up in both of those [businesses],” Mr. Puritt said in an interview on Friday. “As the vaccine becomes more widely available … and traditional travel and venturing outdoors returns to near [pre-pandemic] levels, we’re looking forward to continued growth.”

Telus International had $3-million of profit for the three-month period ended March 31, down from $11-million a year ago. The earnings amounted to 1 cent per diluted share, compared to 5 cents per diluted share during the same period last year.

The company – which provides outsourced online customer service for brands such as Fitbit Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and online gamer Zynga Inc. – attributed the decline to the impact of share-based compensation, acquisition and integration charges and amortization.

After adjusting for those items, its profit was up 293 per cent from a year ago to $59-million. Telus International had 23 cents of adjusted diluted earnings per share, up from 7 cents during the same period last year.

Telus launched the division 15 years ago as a call centre operator for itself and a handful of U.S. telecom and technology firms. Since then, Telus International has expanded into services such as moderating content online, developing and supporting mobile apps and building virtual assistants such as chatbots. It currently serves companies in technology and gaming, communications and media, e-commerce and fintech, travel and hospitality, and health care.

In late 2020, Telus International got into the data annotation business through the $1.2-billion acquisition of Lionbridge AI. The company, which is based in Waltham, Mass., labels data such as pictures, text, video and audio so that they can be used to develop artificial-intelligence algorithms. The acquisition followed the purchase of Competence Call Center for $1.3-billion – a deal that gave Telus International greater scale in the content moderation business.

Telus decided to take the unit public in order to give it its own valuation, which will help Telus International make future acquisitions. Companies in the high-growth IT services industry are typically valued at much higher multiples than those in the relatively slow-growing domestic telecom space.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Puritt said Telus International has dozens of exciting opportunities to extend its capabilities through acquisitions.

“There are a whole bunch of cool, neat things that are natural extensions to what we already have,” Mr. Puritt said. “The challenge for us is focusing and prioritizing and doing it in a thoughtful and disciplined fashion,” he added.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies