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In a £140 million deal Equistone Partners Europe, a pan-European private equity firm, has bought a ‘significant’ undisclosed stake in Fircroft Engineering Services Ltd (Fircroft) which provides recruitment solutions to specialist technical industries, in particular oil and gas, energy and automotive.
The Warrington-based company 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 serves various well-known clients such as BP, Chevron, Shell, Exxon, British Gas and Bentley, and is expected to make revenue of over £650 million this year.
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.
“Fircroft Engineering Services has demonstrated strong historic growth, becoming a leading international player in specialist engineering recruitment, particularly in the wider energy sector,” said Steve O’Hare, director at the Manchester office of Equistone Partners Europe.
“The market prospects, combined with Fircroft’s service levels and continued geographic expansion, means there remains huge growth potential for the business. 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.”
CEO of Fircroft, Johnathan Johnson, said the company is also planning to open new offices in the coming year. The firm has received financial advice on the deal from the Manchester office of international investment bank Altium with Addleshaw Goddard providing legal advice and Deloitte offering financial due diligence.
“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,” said Simon Lord, managing director of Altium’s Manchester office.