Equistone Partners Europe takes stake in Fircroft Engineering Services
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Equistone Partners Europe takes stake in Fircroft Engineering Services

21 Juni 2012

Equistone Partners Europe (“Equistone”), a leading pan-European private equity firm, has bought a significant stake in Fircroft Engineering Services Ltd (“Fircroft”) in a £140million deal.  

Fircroft is a leading global provider of recruitment solutions to specialist technical industries, in particular oil and gas, energy and automotive.

The company, headquartered in Warrington, UK, has a presence in 25 countries, including offices in Europe, Africa, Australasia and North America. It was founded in 1970 by John Johnson and originally serviced oil and gas companies in the North Sea.

Fircroft is now one of the world’s leading technical recruitment businesses, servicing clients including BP, Chevron, Shell, Exxon, British Gas and Bentley.  Current year turnover is expected to exceed £650million.

The transaction was handled by Steve O’Hare, Paul Harper and Andrew Backen from Equistone’s Manchester office. Following completion of the transaction, Steve O’Hare will join the Fircroft board as a non-executive director. There will be no other senior management changes.

Steve O’Hare, director at the Manchester office of Equistone Partners Europe, said: “Fircroft Engineering Services has demonstrated strong historic growth, becoming a leading international player in specialist engineering recruitment, particularly in the wider energy sector. The market prospects, combined with Fircroft’s service levels and continued geographic expansion, means there remains huge growth potential for the business.

“The management team, led by chief executive Johnathan Johnson and chief financial officer Michael Cohen, have done an excellent job in developing the business to date and positioning it for the next stage of growth. The strategy may also include future acquisitions in existing or additional sectors, geographies and services. We are looking forward to supporting the management team in executing these exciting plans.”

Johnathan Johnson, chief executive of Fircroft since 2005, said: “Fircroft is a global player that provides bespoke services to some of the world’s leading technical industries. We are pleased that Equistone shares our vision for the future and we are delighted to secure the investment and look forward to working with them in the coming years.

“We have expanded the business to support our clients, both in the UK and increasingly in overseas markets over the past five to 10 years. We expect this trend to continue and we also plan to open new offices in the coming year to support our organic growth strategy and move into complementary services.”

Fircroft received financial advice on the deal from the Manchester office of international investment bank Altium. Addleshaw Goddard provided legal advice and Deloitte provided financial due diligence.

Simon Lord, managing director of Altium’s Manchester office, said: “Fircroft has grown into one of the world’s leading providers of technical recruitment services, primarily to the oil and gas industry, by servicing both established and developing geographical markets. We are confident that the investment from Equistone will help the company to fully capitalise on the anticipated further growth in the industry and the other sectors that Fircroft serves.”

Equistone received financial advice on the transaction from DC Advisory Partners. DLA Piper provided legal advice. Commercial due diligence was provided by Calash and tax advice by PwC.



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