Thursday, January 7, 2016

News: Nicholas Associates Group marks launch with latest acquisition

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The Rotherham-based industrial and commercial recruiter which launches this month as Nicholas Associates Group has made another acquisition as it continues to push ahead with ambitious expansion plans.

The group's vision is to become the market-leading partner of choice for talent management solutions "from apprentice through to boardroom level" and brings together Stafforce Recruitment, Nicholas Associates and Apprentice Employment Agency brands, complemented by a number of other specialist offerings.

The latest addition comes with the acquisition of Ashley Kate HR, a specialist HR recruitment company, for an undisclosed seven figure sum. The deal is supported by RBS and RBSIF, and is part of an eight figure refinancing that will underpin the continued expansion and diversification of the group.

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Ashley Kate HR is regarded as one of the pre-eminent HR brands across Yorkshire and the Midlands and has delivered in excess of 35% growth in revenue and profits in the last three years, expanding the consultancy team to over 30. The group said that the acquisition is a strategic diversification of existing brands.

Lisa Gainsford, CEO at Nicholas Associates Group, said: "The acquisition of Ashley Kate HR is an essential step in diversifying our group into specialist HR recruitment. The company has an exceptionally strong brand and online social media presence, robust financial performance and a niche specialism that complements our other professional arms of Engineering, Finance and Executive recruitment. We are delighted the Vendors have given our Group the opportunity to take their business to the next level."

The Vendors of Ashley Kate HR, added: "Since its inception in 2001, Ashley Kate HR has been a recruiter of choice for HR professionals. After 15 years of running the business as an independent recruitment consultancy we made the decision to find a new home for the company that would offer growth whilst maintaining quality of service; the personal, professional and honest service that the HR professionals we have worked with have come to expect.

"We are delighted that Ashley Kate HR has now become part of the Nicholas Associates Group, a company whose values, ethos and reputation are firmly aligned with those of Ashley Kate HR's. We are confident that the investment, not just financial, from the new owners will ensure the company continues to go from strength to strength."

Paul Mann and Mae Salem from Squire Patton Boggs in Leeds advised Nicholas Associates. Advising the Vendors were Springboard Corporate Finance. DSW TS Leeds provided due diligence for the Group and RBS.

Stuart Watson, director of the corporate transactions team at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: "We are confident this acquisition will be a profitable decision and is fundamental to Nicholas Associates strategy of diversifying into higher margin sectors."

Headquartered in Rotherham town centre, the company now has 16 branches and 24 onsite operations stretching from the north of Scotland to the south coast of England. In 2014 the company recorded sales of £66m and is forecasting to grow that to £81m in 2015, with similar growth rates predicted for subsequent years. The aim is to achieve a £200m turnover within five years.

As part of the ambitious five-year growth strategy, a far-reaching restructure of its senior management team was carried out earlier this year. Established in 1977 by local entrepreneur, Nick Cragg, the growth strategy also includes preparations for longer term succession.

A deal was concluded at the end of 2015 for XL Graduate Placement, a Newcastle based company providing temporary and permanent graduate recruitment services for an undisclosed sum.

Stafforce website
Nicholas Associates website

Images: Nicholas Associates

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