Skillsgroup has off-loaded its staffing business, QA Myriad, to business support group Hays for £31.2m to focus on the training and consulting markets.
The Myriad sale follows the sale of Skillsgroup's Acuma enterprise and solutions arm in a management buy-out (CRN, 19 April). A shareholders' meeting will be held on 27 June to get approval for the move.
Q A Myriad operates from four offices in the UK and has about 70 employees.
In the year ended 30 November 1999, it generated operating profit of £3.3m on turnover of £65.6m. The company's net assets for the period were £5.4m.David Southworth, outgoing chief executive at Skillsgroup, said while QA Myriad had been consistently profitable, it was not a leading player in a market where scale was becoming important. "The consideration payable by Hays, a group which has a much larger share of the staffing market, recognises the fact that QA Myriad has more potential value under its ownership than under ours," he said.
The proceeds of the sale - estimated to be about £11m - will be used to eliminate Skillsgroup's overdrafts and to fund training and consulting business investments, he said.
Southworth also announced that Skillsgroup is on track to meet its overall profit expectations despite slow trading conditions. He said that while QA Training was trading ahead of internal forecasts, Pontis had seen slower-than-expected improvement in the second quarter.
Q A Myriad's Q2 profit will be below budget expectations and Acuma is facing more project deferrals into the second half than expected.
But Southworth said the second half of the year would be better. "We expect particularly strong bias in the second half within the group's results," he said.
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