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Hot 100 2012 – 81: Swift

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The basics

Company name: Swift
What they do: Oil and gas recruitment
Headquarters: Enfield
The boss: Tobias Read

The financials

Latest turnover (£,000): 390,377
Four-year compound sales growth (%): 31
Latest Ebitda (£,000): 7,468

The details

Proving that the global oil and gas sector is a relative recession-buster, Swift is the second company in the Hot 100 supplying it with manpower. 

This global recruitment firm specialises in the oil and gas industry, with companies such as BP, Shell and Total on its books. It has been operating for over 25 years and now has 21 offices, with over 3,000 consultants on site. 

An MBO in 2006 was backed by Gresham Private Equity, which invested £21m. It is headed up by Tobias Read who, since joining as CEO in 2010, has shifted the company away from large volume, low margin business to customers who are willing to pay a premium for its services. As Read puts it: “We used to be John Lewis selling at Poundland prices but now we are trying to be John Lewis selling at John Lewis prices.” 

Swift’s customers have been happy to pay increased prices of around nine per cent for a service that many competitors can’t match. That service includes putting staff on the ground in remote places such as Angola to ensure recruits posted with clients there are well looked after. 

Sales last year rose to £390m, up from £247m.

The Hot 100 2012 is brought to you by Investec, Jordans, Cass Business School and Your Business Your Future.

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