Rock Steady progress leads to sale

SCOTTISH security firm Rock Steady is to be sold to global rival G4S in a multi-million pound deal.

The company, which was set up 30 years ago by former bouncer Mark Hamilton, is known for its work at high- profile sports events such as Rangers and Hibs matches – as well as leading security for 2005's Live 8 events in London and Edinburgh.

Hamilton, who is believed to be set to earn millions of pounds from the deal, is the majority owner of the business, with his wife Sylvia and businessman Fred Cucchi holding minority stakes.

The company's 2,200 full- and part-time workers in Scotland and northern England are to keep their jobs, with Hamilton staying on as managing director for a new G4S events division.

Run from Rock Steady's existing offices in Edinburgh, the new division will be branded as G4S and will be made up of Rock Steady and G4S's existing events arm.

Hamilton said the combined business would boast around 4,500 staff – and added he was also looking to open a South African branch of the business over the next 12 months.

He said: "I have already been asked to look at opportunities in South Africa, which would leave us really well-placed for major events such as the World Cup in 2010.

"We will certainly be taking on extra staff in Scotland in the near future, as well as giving our existing staff the chance to take advantage of being part of a bigger group."

He added: "This is great news for both Rock Steady and G4S. When looking at this opportunity, we were impressed by the range of events which G4S already manages and are confident that merging the skills and services of both organisations can only be beneficial to clients, their customers and our staff."

G4S, which covers security for everything from cash to jails, was formed in 2004 from the merger of Securicor and Group 4.

The group, which boasts 500,000 staff worldwide– 240,000 in the UK – and has a UK turnover of 950 million, said the deal would enable it to expand in the live music and sports stadium sector and provide additional industry coverage in the north of England and Scotland.

Doug Hewitson, managing director of G4S Security Services UK, added: "Rock Steady is a world-famous name in the events sector and will complement our existing skills and expertise in this specialist part of the security market.

"This growing market will benefit from the widened range of capabilities we are now able to offer, from live music, to political conferences, to iconic sports events."

In its last financial year, the Rock Steady group turned over 12.2m. It has gross assets of 5.3m.