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Cyril Sweett's £30m shopping spree

Cyril Sweett is gearing up for an international spending spree after completing its listing on the AIM.

Chief executive officer Dean Webster told QSW the firm had raised £8.5 million (net) from the listing but would be able to “leverage” up to £30 million pocket money to buy up practices in the UK, Australasia and the Middle East.

The aim, Webster said, was to be able to compete with the likes of Capita Symonds, Mouchel and White Young Green, without losing Cyril Sweett’s core QS and PM identity.

“One of the reasons we went through this internal review [prior to the decision to list] was to work out how we retain our independence as a QS/PM.

“We’re not planning to move into any other areas and are clients tell us they value our independence.”

Webster said the consultant even has a target list in France and Spain – not countries known for their QS-ing: “They may not hang from the trees, but they can be found.”

Asked why other QS-centred operations hadn’t followed suit, Webster said:

“Most of our competitors have only just transferred from partnerships to LLPs whereas we have operated as a quasi-plc since 1998.

“But like all big players we have been looking at growth, and more and more clients are looking to invest overseas so we had to look at ways to do that.”

Webster could not confirm whether any acquisitions on the firm’s target list were imminent, let alone who they are, but confirmed that its current alliance partner in the Middle East and Australasia, DG Jones, would not be one of them.

“We share some cross ownership with DG Jones already, and certainly there is no plan to change the relationship in the short term.”

Foreign earnings are expected to represent 25 per cent of Cyril Sweett revenue - which is targeted to double from £50 million to £100 million - both by 2010.