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More firms in Kerala up for sale as social distancing norms dent businesses

KOCHI: In the last one month, Shanil Louis, managing partner, Business Consultancy Services here, has been busy responding to queries from various establishments regarding the terms to sell off the business to prospective buyers. From event management companies to beauty parlours in the state, several are up for sale after Covid-19 induced strict social distancing has ripped through their business even after the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions. Industry experts say many are forced to exit their business at the earliest while some are going in for mergers seeking new direction to stay afloat.

“Many firms, mainly event management companies, are coming forward to sell their businesses as they stare at an uncertain future in the pandemic’s wake. Majority of  firms want to give up their business in order to explore other business options,” he said. Ramachandra Menon, co-founder, Impresario Event Management, said the pandemic has inflicted maximum damage on event management firms which rely on public events, weddings and exhibitions.

“Small firms will not be able to hold up for long and it’s not certain when things will be back to normal. Many small firms are trying to sell off their assets while big players are looking at mergers for exploring new business opportunities. Right from 2018 when the state had been devastated by the worst flood in nearly a century, the event management firms have been in crisis. Public confidence is low when it comes to spending money on events,” he said. Shaji Thomas Philip, founder of city-based Big Weddings, said his company merged with EM Factor, a fellow event management firm, to tide over the crisis.

“The pandemic-sparked crisis has posed a major challenge to event management firms. To explore new business models in sync with the times, we merged with the firm which has specific expertise. The merger has expanded our portfolio and we expect to leverage the strength of the two firms to stay relevant in the market. Post merger, we have reinvented ourselves into a fully digitally driven firm to cater to customers’ needs,” he added.

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