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Leading UK recruitment firm joins forces with major European player

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International M&A advisory firm BCMS Corporate has advised the shareholders of Heads Recruitment Ltd (HRL) on the sale of the company to Proman Group of France. The transaction also incorporates the sale of HRL’s sister company, Heads Engineering Ltd (HEL).

HRL, with annual revenue in excess of £50m, specialises in the supply of temporary labour to sectors including Manufacturing, Warehousing, Logistics and Commercial. The business was established by Chris and Christine Gorton in Manchester in 1983, and today has over 3,000 temporary workers in the field across the north of England.

HEL, with annual revenue in excess of £10m, focuses on the provision of contract engineering staff to sectors including Petrochemical and Process.

Proman Group is France’s 5th largest recruitment services firm, with annual revenues in excess of €1bn, a headcount of over 900 staff across 250 offices and more than 30,000 contract workers in place. For Proman, HRL and HEL represented an excellent opportunity to enter a key European marketplace through the acquisition of two well-established recruitment businesses with broad customer bases and strong senior management teams.

Roland Gomez, Proman’s CEO, stated: “We have sufficient scale to develop our business in markets outside of France, and our ambition for the next five years to 2020 is to reach €2billion of revenue, with €300million coming from markets outside of France. Importantly, HRL and HEL are businesses which share the same principles and values as Proman, and the complementarity in skillsets and knowledge between the Heads and Proman businesses will greatly contribute to Proman’s development."

Chris Gorton, HRL’s Chairman, also commented: “We could not have hoped for a more suitable buyer for our business – namely an international player looking for a UK footprint and with the ambition and resources to significantly grow our business.  Proman is also a company which shares our family business values for integrity and staff welfare. BCMS found that buyer, and helped us every step of the way.”

From BCMS’s side, the transaction was led by Hugh Ashburner, Associate Director. “From the very outset the shareholders of HRL were adamant that the ideal acquirer would come from overseas. Chris and Christine Gorton were keen to see the business come under the ownership of a company that would invest for the long term, and in Proman they have found such a buyer. The proven ability of BCMS to identify and reach out to such buyers was a critical ingredient in achieving a successful outcome”.

The sale of HRL and HEL to Proman marks the latest in a long line of company sales to overseas acquirers for BCMS. Over the past two years, around 90% of the firm’s larger transactions have been concluded with international buyers, with countries including the USA, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland featuring strongly.

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Posted Sep 2015
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