NatWest puts faith in contract hiring

NatWest Equity Partners has provided the equity component in a GBP50 million (E76.5 million) financing for NES Group, the largest privately owned provider of contract technical and IT personnel in Europe.

NatWest has put up what is thought to be less than GBP10 million for a stake in the business of just over 56 per cent. NatWest Bank and Bank of Scotland have provided the rest in the form of a term loan and working capital facilities. The latter amount to GBP20 million. Derek Gardner, director of NatWest Equity Partners’ Manchester office, will take a seat on the company’s board, and the bank will appoint a non-executive chairman.

Under the new capital structure, the existing directors of NES will also remain significant shareholders in the business. The two joint managing directors and founders of the business, Bryan Sullivan and Geoff Lloyd, who are the chief beneficiaries of the capital injection, retain significant minority stakes. The agreement furthermore contains provision for the company’s employees to acquire shares.

Founded in 1978, NES operates from headquarters in Altrincham and Winsford with a network of 20 other offices. It employs 250 and forecasts a turnover of GBP150 million for the current year.

NatWest’s Gardner said: “NES has an impressive track record and is viewed as an excellent investment opportunity.” He added that the company was “extremely well placed to benefit from the growth within the contract employment market”.