UK - The pension and benefits outsourcing business of Hogg Robinson has been sold to private equity firm Duke Street Capital for an undisclosed sum.

Duke Street said it aims to achieve "significant operational efficiencies" across the business, which comprises Paymaster, Entegria and Claybrook. A spokesman said there were no plans for redundancies. The firms employ a total of 1,100 staff and had an income of £75.6m (€110.9m) in the period ending March 31.

Existing management will remain, with the addition of Richard Stephenson as non-executive chairman.

"The pensions and benefits markets as a whole are increasing and demand for high quality, specialist providers is likely to remain strong as the cost and complexity of these products increases," Duke Street said.

And it saw an increase in project work as companies shift to defined contribution arrangements. There was also the need for advice in the wake of the Myners report and the new Pensions Act.

Duke Street said it would "provide strategic and financial support to develop the business organically and through selective acquisitions, in order to maximise fully the opportunities afforded by the strong market growth that is anticipated over the next few years".

"Together, DSC and the management team intend to improve the integration of the three businesses, in order to achieve significant operational efficiencies and create a more efficient platform for the cross selling of products, with a more aggressive sales and marketing strategy."

"We spent quite some time looking at the pensions and benefits market to find a high quality business that would provide a platform for acquisitions and enable us to participate in the strong growth that is expected over the next few years," said Duke Street associate director Marco Herbst.

Investors in Duke Street include US and European pension funds.

Hogg Robinson will now concentrate on its travel business. A spokeswoman said it had had a "range of enquiries" about the business, but declined to be more specific.