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Fast-growing AAB’s latest acquisition takes it over the Irish Sea

l-r Feargal McCormack, managing director at FPM, and Graeme Allan, chief executive of AAB.
l-r Feargal McCormack, managing director at FPM, and Graeme Allan, chief executive of AAB.

Accountancy and business services firm Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB) has crossed the Irish Sea in its latest expansion.

The Aberdeen firm has acquired FPM, based in Newry, Northern Ireland, but with operations on both sides of the Irish border. Financial terms for the deal were undisclosed.

AAB said there were no job losses or office closures planned.

With FPM, we gain an impressive team with a great reputation and significant presence across the island of Ireland.”

Graeme Allan, chief executive, AAB.

It is the latest in a flurry of takeover deals by AAB, which completed a hat-trick of acquisitions last year.

It snapped up a majority stake in Edinburgh firm Purpose HR and Glasgow-based accountancy firm Hardie Caldwell in a strategic expansion push into the central belt.

Those two deals were followed by AAB’s acquisition of Leeds-based independent accountancy firm Sagars to further expand its UK regional presence.

Last October, it emerged AAB had sold a majority stake in its business to London-based August Equity for an undisclosed sum.

New Irish ‘hub’

AAB said its latest merger built on its regional presence across the UK and created a significant new “hub” across the island of Ireland in line with “ambitious” growth plans.

Graeme Allan, chief executive, AAB, added: “This merger is a very important milestone for the group.

“With FPM, we gain an impressive team with a great reputation and significant presence across the island of Ireland.

“There is a strong cultural fit between our firms, and at the heart of this is a passion for helping team members and clients achieve their goals, which makes us hugely excited about the opportunity this merger presents.”

AAB chief executive Graeme Allan.

FPM founder and managing director Feargal McCormack said: “The synergies across our teams, service provision and sector specialisms provide a fantastic platform for exciting future growth.

“In addition to this, we were attracted to AAB as the group has impressive global connections and experience working with high-growth SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) businesses and large corporations internationally.

“This instantly gives us the capabilities to do even more for our clients, wherever they wish to do business across the world, whilst also providing our teams with enhanced opportunities to progress and develop as part of a larger group.”

£9.5m-a-year business

FPM’s audit, accounting, tax and business advisory operations turn over about £9.5 million a year.

The business employs more than 120 people across offices in Newry, Belfast, Dublin, Dungannon and Mallusk.

Its nine shareholder directors are all staying on in their current roles and will continue to drive the growth of FPM as part of AAB, which now boasts annual revenue of more than £50m and a 550-plus workforce across 10 offices in the UK and Ireland.

AAB’s Aberdeen headquarters.

AAB – based at Prime Four business park, in Kingswells – said it would continue to actively pursue growth organically, as well as through mergers and acquisitions.

The firm was founded in 1990 by retired senior partner Mike Brown and two former E&Y colleagues, Bobby Anderson and Sheena Anderson.

It describes itself these days as a “tech-enabled business critical services group across finance and HR”.

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