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Redundancy counsellor sheds 35 jobs following acquisition

Britain's leading redundancy counselling firm is itself making 35 employees redundant after acquiring one of its main competitors.

Sanders & Sidney, a subsidiary of Penna Holdings which boasts that it "never makes people redundant", announced it was to acquire KPMG Career Consulting for pounds 750,000 in cash. KPMG said yesterday that, of the 65 staff employed by its outplacement business, only 18 had been offered full-time posts at Sanders. A dozen more had been asked to join Sanders as "associates".

Sanders will drop the KPMG brand name, but denied that it had bought the competing business to close it down. The company said it had made the acquisition for its "excellent assets and people".

Frances Cook, managing director of Sanders, said: "KPMG is giving people help to move on, and we would certainly support that."

However, she added that the redundancies were a matter for KPMG. "We never make redundancies, but sometimes people need to move on and we help them to do that."

However, although KPMG confirmed the number of staff who had been offered work at Sanders, it said a decision on the future shape of the KPMG business was entirely in Sanders' hands.

Sanders, which is number one in its field and, prior to the merger employed over 200 people, said it was "picking up as many people as it could", and that the alternative would have been to make the entire workforce redundant.

For reasons of client confidentiality, Sanders, which has 18 offices around the UK, cannot give details of clients. However, Ms Cook described them as "major corporates".

KPMG said it had become clear that its outplacement firm had a better future with Sanders, and that there were obvious synergies between the two businesses.

KPMG Career Consulting had a turnover of pounds 4.8m in 1995/6. Sanders had a turnover in 1996/7 of pounds 15.9m.