By Ian McConnell

GLASGOW-based accountancy firm Hardie Caldwell has merged with the much-larger Anderson Anderson & Brown, which declared the deal provided it with a “significant presence” in a key target market and flagged plans for further expansion across central Scotland.

Hardie Caldwell has more than 40 employees and annual revenues of around £2 million. AAB, prior to the deal, had annual turnover of around £28m and in excess of 290 staff, with offices in London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. AAB noted it had worked with Hardie Caldwell for three decades as part of the UK-wide Accelerate association of accounting firms, and said no job losses would result from the deal. The Hardie Caldwell business in Glasgow will be re-branded as AAB.

A spokeswoman for AAB, which describes itself as a “tech-enabled business critical services group providing audit and accounting, tax, payroll and HR (human resources), outsourcing and advisory solutions globally”, said: “The merger provides AAB with a significant presence in the key target market of Glasgow and the combined group has plans to grow significantly across the central belt.”

AAB noted it would, following the deal, have in excess of 80 staff across central Scotland.

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Asked if the enlarged business planned further mergers, the spokeswoman replied: “AAB has ambitious plans to become a group with £50 million revenue by 2025 and will continue to consider strategic options for growth, including further mergers and acquisitions opportunities.”

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AAB said the three Hardie Caldwell partners, managing partner Angus McCuaig, Douglas Emery and Pauline McGarry, would become AAB partners. Mr McCuaig will be AAB’s managing partner in Glasgow.

AAB chief executive Graeme Allan said: “The merger provides AAB with a greater geographical footprint and gives us a key presence in Glasgow which will help us realise our growth strategy to 2025 and beyond. This is an...important milestone."

Mr McCuaig said: "We have a long history of working in partnership with AAB and look forward to moving this on to the next level through the merger of the two firms. We are hugely excited by the opportunities this creates for both our staff and clients as we embark on exciting growth plans to create a much larger AAB business in Glasgow and across the wider central belt.”

The spokeswoman said: "The two firms have worked in partnership for the last three decades and by joining forces through this merger both firms will benefit from combining their talent and technology."