PA Consulting sets sights on doubling its business
This article was first published in The Times
One of Britain’s oldest consultancy groups has reported record fee income of £500 million for 2019, a 10 per cent increase on the previous year.
PA Consulting said that it was on track to double the size of the business in the next five years. The group, founded as Personnel Administration in 1943, employs more than 2,800 people and has a presence in 18 countries covering public and private sector clients.
A partnership with Carlyle Group, the investment firm, which took a 51 per cent stake in 2015, has helped PA to acquire several rivals. Between 2017 and 2019 it bought Sparkler, a consumer insights company, We Are Friday, a digital experience and design firm, and Nyras, an aviation consultancy. In the United States, PA took over Essential Design, an innovation strategy and product design business, and 4iNNO, a specialist growth strategy firm.
After integrating the recent acquisitions, PA said yesterday that it would “explore options for the next investment cycle” and had started the initial stages of this process. It said that it wanted to remain as an independent consultancy business and would look for future investment from a private equity firm, similar to the deal it has with Carlyle.
On Tuesday Bloomberg reported that Carlyle had appointed HSBC and JP Morgan Chase with a view to exiting its investment in PA, which valued the consultancy at $1 billion in 2015.
Alan Middleton, chief executive, said: "PA has a clear purpose and a strong track record of ahead-of-market growth. We’re perfectly positioned to deliver on our ambitious growth plans, through bringing ingenuity to life for our clients and our people."