Hays holds new records with Rockall purchase

HAYS, the business services group, is set to become the UK's largest records management company with the pounds 20m cash purchase of Rockall Scotia Resources, a specialist computer-based records storage and data management company.

Rockall is the leading supplier of records storage to oil and gas exploration companies including Shell, BP, Conoco and Esso. Storage covers rock core samples, computer tapes, seismic sections, drawings and paper records.

The grouping of Rockall with Hays' existing activities makes the group the biggest in UK records management and establishes a leading position in the European oil records management business. The acquisition is conditional on there being no reference of Hays' new position to the UK Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Following the purchase of Rockall, Hays will be able to offer customers tape transcription, scanning and systems software specifically for data management.

Ronnie Frost, Hays' chairman, said Rockall's move into local government and healthcare markets, along with a substantial contract with the Inland Revenue, would enable the enlarged business to expand further into the public sector market and take advantage of the Government's policy of contracting out its service requirements.

Half of Rockall's sales are made by overseas subsidiaries and Hays intends to use this as a springboard for expanding its existing record management businesses internationally in both the oil and commercial sectors.

Rockall has six storage centres in the UK, wholly owned subsidiaries in the US and Norway, a part- owned subsidiary in Holland and a joint venture in Germany.

Rockall made pre-tax profits of pounds 2.1m in 1993 on sales of pounds 15.4m. It had net assets of pounds 2.1m at the end of December and on acquisition will have borrowings of pounds 5m.

Walter McKinlay, the former chairman of Rockall, will remain in an advisory capacity providing support for the development and expansion of the international records management business.