Funds managed by FL Partners, a Dublin-based investment boutique have acquired Potensis Recruitment, one of the largest recruiters to the UK housebuilding and construction industries, together with SEAL Resource Management, a related business.
Potensis, founded in 2000, provides temporary and permanent recruitment services to the residential housebuilding, social housing and commercial construction sectors. It recruits across all job levels and its clients include many of the UK’s leading publicly-listed housebuilders and social housing groups. Most of its clients have worked with Potensis for at least a decade.
Jared Sullivan, founder and managing director, has invested alongside FL. Steven Kirkpatrick has been recruited as CEO of the Group and is also investing in the company. Steven has worked in recruitment for 20 years and was formerly CEO of Cordant Recruitment and, before that, managing director of Adecco’s UK general staffing businesses.
The need for housing in the UK remains acute and Potensis will seek to extend its existing strong positions in the London and the South East residential and social housing markets more broadly throughout the UK and internationally.
Souter Investments, the family office of Sir Brian Souter, was part of the syndicate of investors. Debt finance for the transaction was provided by CORDET Capital Partners LLP and OakNorth Bank. FL was advised on the deal by Deloitte and White & Case.
Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes, founders and managing partners at FL Partners said: “We are very excited about the opportunities for Potensis. There is huge demand for housing in the UK with at least 300,000 new homes needed annually for the foreseeable future and only c. 170,000 built in 2016. Human capital is critically important to addressing this significant deficit and Potensis helps its clients get the right people for this strategically-important and rapidly-evolving market.”
“Over the last 16 years, Potensis has grown into a strong business with a loyal client base and a leading specialist offering. The transfer to new ownership under a new management team will position the company to deliver on its exciting growth plans.”
Chris Birt, Investment Professional at CORDET, commented: “We have worked closely with FL Partners and Steven over the last few months and are delighted to be financing this transaction. Their operational expertise coupled with Potensis’ position as the go-to expert in the sector means the business is ideally positioned to benefit from the clear macro drivers and to help its clients navigate the chronic skills shortage facing the industry.”
Mohith Sondhi, Debt Finance Director at OakNorth Bank, commented: “This is an attractive opportunity for FL Partners to acquire a regional market leader at a time when many recruiters are stalling growth plans. The UK construction industry generates around £90bn annually, accounting for 6.7% of GDP and employing over 2.9 million people. With a further one million houses needing to be built by 2020, we have no doubt that Potensis’ services will be in high demand over the coming years, and look forward to watching it grow.”
About FL Partners
FL is a Dublin-based investment boutique which has successfully invested behind and subsequently exited from a number of UK and Irish businesses including ATA Group, UTV Media plc, the Racing Post and Sunseeker; FL continues to manage a diverse portfolio of private equity investments.
About Souter Investments
Souter Investments is the family investment office of Sir Brian Souter, co-founder and Chairman of Stagecoach Group plc. It makes investments across a broad range of asset classes, with a primary focus on private equity.
CORDET is an independent private debt specialist focused on smaller mid-market companies in Northern Europe offering investors unique credits with superior core income returns.
About OakNorth Bank Limited
Launched in September 2015, OakNorth is a UK bank that provides fast, flexible and accessible debt finance to entrepreneurs and mid-sized growth businesses. The bank was founded by Rishi Khosla and Joel Perlman, themselves entrepreneurs who were inspired to launch OakNorth following the challenges they faced in securing debt finance from high street banks for their previous business, Copal Amba.