May 3, 2018 | Rachel Williamson

Third time lucky for renamed PayGroup ahead of $8.5m IPO

Software maker PayGroup is having another crack at listing this year, after pulling an attempt late in 2017 and changing its name.

PayGroup operates a Software as a Service (SaaS) payroll and HR platform aimed at Asia-Pacific businesses.

The group (ASX:PYG) tried to raise $15 million in an Initial Public Offer in November as PeoplesHR.

The company had been about to acquire a tech play called PeoplesHR — hence the name — but it didn’t hit performance targets so they pulled the deal and the IPO, managing director Mark Samlal told Stockhead.

They halved the IPO figure, since it was no longer needed to fund a takeover, and tried again in February.

But then the corporate watchdog demanded extra information. This time is the lucky third.

PayGroup is now looking to raise up to $8.5 million from 50c shares.

India is bigger than China

Payroll services — either traditionally licensed or leased via a SaaS service such as PayGroup — is a very competitive industry.

Investors in Australia looking for SaaS and cloud HR and payroll companies already have options on the ASX.

They include Elmo (ASX:ELO), MYOB (ASX:MYO), Xero (ASX:XRO) and Reckon (ASX:RKN).

“Payroll outsourcing is very competitive, particular when looking at single country providers and when you particularly look at Australia,” Mr Samlal says.

“However, when you look at a regional offering…. [we are unique] because we’ve got a regional approach.

“There aren’t too any companies in our space that [operate] in over 500 cities in India,” he says.

India is the key because that’s where companies working in Asia are hiring now — not China.

“I know because I see the payroll statistics,” he says.

“If you’d asked me two years ago I would have said China [but now] we see India as being stronger.”

The Philippines is number two.

Side hustle

Mr Samlal started the business in Singapore in 2006 as a “side hustle” for his wife Michele Samantha Samlal to manage.

Mrs Samlal will own 48 per cent of the listed company as a proxy for her husband. She also owns half of the office space PayGroup leases.

He took over management in 2015 in order to get the backend tech in place, and is looking to use the IPO to put the company into a high growth flight pattern.

Mr Samlal says lumpy 2017 figures — profit and EBITDA were all lower in that year — are because they expensed all of the tech spending and IPO costs before going public.

Flat operating revenue is because instead of investing in marketing and establishing new regional business hubs, they were working on the tech.

The IPO is intended to partly pay for tech upgrades and advisors, but will mostly go on marketing.

About PayAsia

PayAsia is a fully owned subsidiary of PayGroup. Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, PayGroup Limited (ASX: PYG) was recently incorporated as the holding company for PayAsia (collectively PayGroup or Group). The Group is a provider of BPO solutions and Cloud (Software-as-a-Service or SaaS) based Human Capital Management (HCM) software, operating in the Asia Pacific region for multinational companies, and today services over 400 client entities with more than 31,000 client employees across 18 countries. The Group has 111 employees located across 8 countries. Clients are typically medium to large multinational companies with employees in multiple countries in the Asia Pacific region. The Group operates as a trusted partner to perform the outsourced payroll process for the client employees including banking, treasury, lodgement of statutory submissions including taxation, superannuation, pension, provident funds, and other social benefits. Beyond its BPO Payroll Services, the Group’s SaaS HCM software product suite supports clients in managing aspects of their employees’ life cycle, plus regional and mobile-enabled workflows for critical processes (such as employee and manager self-service, leave management and expense management).