Fircroft eyes 30% to 40% growth for Malaysian business

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KUALA LUMPUR: Fircroft Group (UK), a multinational firm providing technical recruitment services for the natural resources and engineering sectors, is targeting a year-on-year growth rate of between 30% and 40% for its Malaysian business via a joint venture (JV) with Tanjung Offshore Bhd (TOS).

In an interview with The Edge Financial Daily, Fircroft group chief executive officer Johnathan Johnson said he thinks the projected growth rate is a reasonable expectation, as the firm is starting from a low base here in Malaysia with the JV.

“We do see our business in Malaysia growing at a faster rate because it is a new area,” he said.

“The oil and gas (O&G) industry here is growing quite fast as well. And because we are a specialised entity with technical knowledge when it comes to O&G and other related industries, for us the growth rate will be quite good,” he added.

According to him, the group’s global revenue was RM4.5 billion, and it has managed a minimum overall growth of 25% year-on-year for the last five years.

“We expect that growth momentum to continue to grow just by expanding our international base. It’s a big growth not just in the upstream, but also in downstream businesses as well. We do see that Malaysian growth rate as a reasonable one for the next three years,” he said.

Fircroft is a provider of technical recruitment services to the global natural resources and engineering sectors. Established in the United Kingdom in 1970 by Johnson’s father, the group had started by providing specialised recruitment services to the O&G industry, beginning with Royal Dutch Shell.

Currently, Fircroft has 40 offices worldwide, with an established presence in nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It has built up an international client base, including Shell and ExxonMobil.

In its latest 51:49 JV known as Fircroft Tanjung with TOS, the group will provide manpower supply for the Malaysian O&G industry — not only by bringing in skilled expatriate engineers, but also by providing local engineers an opportunity to work overseas for Fircroft’s international clients to gain knowledge and experience that can be passed on once they come back.

Johnson said the group has a global database of about 400,000 people to provide the talent, and is also working with various international and local universities to attract engineering graduates to start careers in the sector.

Asked why Fircroft has chosen to work with TOS, Johnson said that not only does TOS operate under the same values as Fircroft, but it also has a network that Fircroft can leverage on, including the necessary licences awarded by Malaysia’s national oil firm, Petroliam Nasional Bhd.

“We felt there was a lot of synergy to be gained, and also TOS was looking at potentially working internationally,” he said.

Commenting on Fircroft’s overall growth plans, Johnson said that while Fircroft Tanjung is the group’s first JV project, it is also eyeing other JVs in the Middle East and Africa.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 30, 2014.