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UK – Parasol expects to be sold within 18 months

19 January 2012

Parasol, the umbrella firm which provides payroll services to independent contractors, is expecting to be sold within the next 18 months although this does not stop the company from pursuing its goals of becoming an international business services group.

Parasol, which was founded in 2000, was backed by a management buyout of 24 million Pounds in 2006 by private equity outfit Inflexion. The Manchester Evening News reports that Inflexion was now likely to sell its stake. The founder and chief executive, Rob Crossland, told the newspaper that a secondary buyout was a likely outcome, which would set in motion a new round of investment into the business.

Parasol provides umbrella PAYE services and mainly acts for temporary staff and contractors which operate in sectors that include financial services, IT, engineering and education. The company has achieved average annual turnover growth of 20% and now claims a turnover in excess of 350 million Pounds. In an interview Mr Crossland said the company benefited from its earlier investment in sales and marketing, technology and processes.

Parasol also has two sister companies, which supply software to recruitment firms and has a client base of over 8,000. Major clients include Alexander Mann and Hays. 

Mr Crossland told the newspaper that “We have lots of ambition and opportunities for growth, both in the UK and abroad. We want to move to the next level to become a true business services group, focused on helping people to get on,” he said.

Despite the current economic climate, Mr Crossland expects turnover to increase and is prepared to invest half a million Pounds into his business this year.

In Staffing Industry Analysts’ 2010 report ‘Umbrella Companies in the UK’, Parasol was the second largest umbrella firm in the UK based on revenue but the largest based on the number of contractors paid.

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