Whitehead Mann plans flotation

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The Independent Online
While Michael Page yesterday announced its exit from the stock market, the rival Whitehead Mann recruitment group issued its pathfinder prospectus with the aim of raising between pounds 20m and pounds 25m from a flotation later this month, writes Clifford German.

Clive Mann, chief executive of Whitehead, said the flotation would aid expansion plans. Whitehead, which operates out of London and Solihull, is planning to open an office in Leeds and could grow its workforce from 80 to 120 in two years, he added.

Mr Mann, his wife Anna and director Nigel Smith will see their shareholdings reduced from 73.6 to 37 per cent, netting up to pounds 7m from the flotation. The pathfinder includes a forecast for the profit for the financial year to the end of this month of pounds 2.4m, before flotation expenses.

The company, which finds executives to fill some of the top board positions in the UK and can claim as clients over 40 of the UK's FTSE 100 companies, is ranked third in the British recruiting market, according to a recent survey carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Analysts, however, have warned that the recruitment market suffers from cyclicality - in particular suffering in recessions. But Mr Mann said "a recession is not necessarily bad for us" as companies in trouble tend to have boardroom shake-ups. He conceded, though, that in 1990 business did decline very slightly and the rate of growth was below par in 1991.

Mr Mann said the company is primarily interested in looking for executives to fill jobs with pay packages worth pounds 90,000 and over - the average worth of a contract that the company finds someone to fill is pounds 130,000, and executive search work accounts for 68 per cent of group turnover and gives rise to 70 to 80 per cent repeat business.