Recruitment firm buys mining industry expertise

TECHNICAL recruitment specialist Fircroft has acquired One Key Resources, an  Australian firm specialising in labour hire and managed workforce services to the mining, oil and gas, and infrastructure industries.

Established in 2011, One Key has become a market leader in the supply of workforces to the mining industry in the Asia-Pacific region, and Fircroft said the purchase will strengthen its portfolio of operations.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition strengthens Fircroft’s portfolio of operations and provides the group with greater access to the Asia-Pacific markets.

Fircroft was backed by independent investment firm Equistone Partners Europe in 2012 in a deal worth £140m.

Johnathan Johnson, chief executive of Fircroft, said: “One Key are leading the market in workforce solutions for the mining and natural resources industries. With their continual focus on providing a best-in-class service to clients and contractors alike, One Key are perfectly aligned to the values of the Fircroft Group.

“At Fircroft we have ambitious expansion plans, and we are pleased that One Key, with their suite of innovative, market-leading training products and workforce solutions will be joining us on this journey as we seek to further strengthen our expertise in providing workforce solutions to the global mining industry.”

Grant Wechsel, co-founder and managing director of One Key Resources, said: “One Key has seen phenomenal growth and success in recent years with consistent increases in revenue and our total workforce. As part of the Fircroft Group we will be in a strong position to take our innovative solutions to a global market.

“In joining the Fircroft Group, One Key is becoming part of a business that shares our relentless commitment to innovation, quality and the achievement of the highest levels of client and contractor satisfaction.”

Wechsel will continue as managing director and as a shareholder of One Key following the acquisition, while his fellow director and former Australian Rugby League captain Darren Lockyer will also continue in his role.

Steve O’Hare, partner at Equistone Partners Europe in the North of England, said: “Fircroft has continued to trade well in light of the difficult backdrop in the oil and gas sector.

“This acquisition demonstrates that we see this period as an opportunity to invest in growth and increase market share, whilst also expanding our sector capabilities which will enable us to use the Fircroft global footprint to grow One Key more rapidly.”

Warrington-based Fircroft was founded in south Manchester in 1970 by John Johnson and now run by his son Johnathan. Since 2012 it has been backed by private equity firm Equistone, although the Johnson family retain the majority shareholding.

One Key joins Fircroft following the group’s acquisition of global telecommunications recruiter Rygon and the formation of several joint ventures throughout 2015.

Legal advice for the deal was provided by Roger Hart and Adam Kaucher of Addleshaw Goddard, whilst Richard Bell and Dan Wright of Deloitte performed Financial Due Diligence. Iain Gallow of Calash performed Commercial Due Diligence.