Staffline searching for Scots takeover targets

STAFFLINE, the Aim-quoted blue-collar recruitment firm, is targeting its first takeover in Scotland as it looks to double its headcount north of the Border to cope with demand for temporary staff.

The company, which has made a dozen acquisitions in the past year, is eyeing up firms that turn over between 2 million and 20m a year.

News of the expansion comes as Staffline prepares for an investor roadshow in Edinburgh this week. The business already has a number of backers in Scotland, including several investment funds.

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Staffline - which specialises in filling vacancies for unskilled and semi-skilled staff in the call centre, distribution and food and drink industries - posted 40 per cent growth in the number of employees it placed in Scotland last year.

But that figure lagged behind the 100 per cent growth reported for the entire UK.

Chief executive Andy Hogarth told Scotland on Sunday: "We're starting from a low base in Scotland because we've historically had a small presence here.

"But Scotland has a vibrant economy, particularly in the food sector, and so we've appointed a salesperson in Glasgow to help drive growth."

Hogarth expects to at least double his Scottish headcount to 18 in the next year, having signed up a string of new clients, including GreenVale, the potato producer owned by Scottish Aim-quoted outfit Produce Investments.

The recruitment firm places its staff at its clients' offices rather than in centralised branches - in effect making staff an extension of its customers' human resources departments.

Staffline was launched in 1986 and joined Aim in 2004. It began operating in Scotland four years ago.

Revenue at Staffline rose by 79 per cent in 2010 to 206.2m, boosting profits by 110 per cent to 7.8m and allowing the firm to double its dividend to 6.2p.

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The firm has recently expanded into the training market, winning a five-year 90m contract from the Department for Work and Pensions.