Hays plc (LSE: HAS) is a British company providing recruitment and human resources services. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
The Company was founded in 1867 as an operator of wharves and warehouses on the south bank of the River Thames, a trade that dates back to the 17th Century. One of these, Hays Wharf, was rebuilt as an enclosed dock after the Great Fire of Southwark in 1861: it still exists and has more recently been converted into a shopping and restaurant area known as Hay's Galleria.
The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1958, and expanded into related activities in transport, storage and warehousing in the 1960s. The importance of the Port of London declined, and the Company's last wharf in the Pool of London closed in 1969.
The Kuwait Investment Office acquired an indirect 34% holding in the Company in 1975, this was increased to 100% in 1980.
The property assets on the south bank of the Thames were sold off to developers in the early 1980s. Instead Hays acquired Farmhouse Securities, a food distribution business, in 1981 and moved into chemical distribution and office support services. Most importantly for its long term future, in 1986, it purchased a personnel business called Career Care Group.
The Kuwait Investment Office sold the business to the management in 1987 who then listed the Company on the London Stock Exchange again in 1989.