Sia Partners doubles presence in the UK market with Molten deal
Sia Partners has acquired Molten, a management consulting firm in London focused on the oil and gas sector. Some 30 consultants will make the transition to the originally French consultancy. The deal will double Sia Partner’s workforce in the UK, and adds a small team to the United States.
Sia Partners, one of the largest management consulting firms in the world, has achieved rapid growth in recent years. In the last three years, the consulting firm, which was founded in 1999 in Paris, doubled in size to a team of around 850 consultants in 20 countries worldwide.
Matthieu Courtecuisse, founder and CEO of Sia Partners, announced last week that the consultancy firm's presence in the UK has strengthened considerably with the acquisition of Molten. Molten is a medium-sized consultancy with an advisory team of 30 consultants in London and Houston, the United States. The agency was founded in 2003 in London by Rory Colfer, a former KPMG and Deloitte consultant, and Irene Molodtsov, former consultant at KPMG Consulting and ODL.
Molten has built a strong track record in the oil & gas sector. The agency in London services among others, BP, Gazprom, Shell and MOL, and received several awards and recognitions in the UK for its rapid growth and implemented customer projects the last few years. According to analysts, Molten is one of the biggest success stories in the UK consulting industry over the past decade.
The drop in oil prices and its impact on the hiring of consultants by international oil companies, however, made for a difficult period at Molten. Founders Colfer and Molodtsov decided together with the other partners to redirect the focus. Together they came to the decision to move to other sectors, including financial services and the automotive industry, and to establish the functional focus on managing complex transformation projects. And with success – in the last 24 months, Molten has attracted several large customers including HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Jaguar Land Rover and aircraft and train manufacturer Bombardier. Molten saw the turnover grow to around € 6.9 million and is currently profitable.
The acquisition of Molten is the latest in a series of acquisitions and in line with the "Strong Momentum" strategy Sia Partners has launched in 2014. In this strategy, the consultancy firm set a target to breach the limit of 1,000 consultants by the year 2017. To achieve this goal Sia Partners invested in both organic growth in existing and new markets and selective M&A deals to strengthen its presence in various markets. Earlier acquisitions included procurement expert Sourcing France (~ 10 consultants) in 2015 and the international offices of rival Investance (~ 60 consultants) in 2013. In 2012 Sia Partners acquired OTC Americas - an acquisition which served as a stepping stone into the North American consultancy market.
Through the latest deal, Sia Partners continues to strengthen its international network with the branches of Molten in London and Houston. Molten will continue to operate for a while under its own brand (with the addition of 'Sia Partner Group' under its logo). Upon completion of the integration, estimated to take place by the end of 2016, the Molten brand will disappear, and Sia Partners’ British offices will include some 60 consultants spread across four practices with a combined turnover of £ 9 million. In the US, the consulting team will grow to 80 consultants servicing the market from four firms, with a combined turnover of around £ 13 million.
"With this acquisition, Sia Partners will become a global player in the field of management consulting to companies in the oil & gas sector (IOC, NOC, OFS), spanning the United States to Southeast Asia, including Europe and the Middle east." says Courtecuisse. Sia Partners focuses mainly on mid-sized players in the oil & gas industry, a segment that is currently in heavy weather.
Commenting on the acquisition, Molodtsov and Colfer announce that the amalgamation of the two independent consultants feels like a "natural combination." They add: "We have known the directors of Sia Partners for years, and have even worked together on some projects." In their role as co-CEOs of Sia Partners UK / Molten UK in the coming months, Molodtsov and Colfer will develop a new business model for the combined operations of the two organizations. They will also lead the post-merger integration taking place until the end of 2016. Wayne Campbell and Noel Connolly, who led the Molten office in Houston, will join the US management team of Sia Partners and report to Dan Connor, Managing Director of Sia Partners in North America.
Courtecuisse says to be pleased with the strengthening of the network and adds that Sia Partners is on track to achieve its strategic objectives in the areas of sales, global reach, development / deployment of practices, reputation and talent management. The United Kingdom office has expressed its ambition to cross the threshold of 100 consultants within 18 months. "Although the Brexit will complicate a number of issues for many companies in the UK, the market is recovering - commodity prices are stable again and businesses are starting to grow again. We are in an excellent position to advise our customers. "
Colfer adds: "Thanks to the financial capacity of Sia Partners, and by quickly integrating the two teams, we are confident that we can achieve the target of more than 100 consultants in less than two years."
Sia Partner’s expansion plans are not limited to the UK and US markets. Robert Jan van Vliet, Associate Partner at Sia Partners in the Netherlands aims to grow the firm past 30 consultants by the end of this fiscal year, in July 2017.
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