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Hays is looking to recruit up to 200 recruitment consultants in the UK and Ireland this year.

Hays is to set up a 20,000 sq ft customer service and administration centre for its recruitment business at Colton Square in Leicester in July, with the relocation of up to 200 staff and the creation of 40 new jobs.

Hays has acquired James Harvard, the London-based recruitment company specialising in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, for an initial £24m.

Hays is planning to open a further 15 recruitment offices and create 400 jobs over the coming months.

Hays has sold most of its logistics business to Platinum Equity of the US for £102m, and is now looking to sell its mail division and the remaining logistics operations in the US and Germany.

Hays has sold its business process outsourcing division to Astron for £21m, as part of a strategy to focus on recruitment.

Hays is to sell its information management services business to Iron Mountain Europe for £200m.

Hays Distribution Services has reached agreement with Richardson Developments to set up a 260,000 sq ft warehouse at Merlin Park in Birmingham, which will create about 100 jobs.

Hays has sold its non-core chemicals business to a management buy-in team called Albion Chemicals for £107m, which will involve the transfer of 850 staff at 16 depots throughout the country.

Hays has acquired Argon, the French supply chain consultancy, for £6.6m, and has also announced a distribution agreement with i2 Technologies of the US that will enhance its e-commerce capabilities.

Hays is to acquire QA Myriad from Skillsgroup for £31m, in order to expand its IT staffing division.

Hays is expanding its recruitment agency business with the £22m acquisition of Sedi and MD Concept in France and Roozen & van Hoof in the Netherlands.

Hays is to acquire EPS, the Banbury-based supplier of services to mobile phone operators, for £55m.

Hays has won a £200m contract to distribute truck parts for Iveco, which will involve a warehouse in Cheshire and the creation of 180 jobs.

Hays is to create 200 new jobs in Doncaster, having won a contract to distribute goods to B&Q stores.

Hays has acquired IT contractor Hutchinson Smith and delivery service Cannon Couriers for about £46m.

Hays has sold three food ingredients businesses to a new company called Braes Group for £22m, and Braes is planning to build up a £200m food group with the backing of 3i.

Hays has won food distribution contracts worth a total of £50m from Kentucky Fried Chicken, Haagen Daz Cafes, and Yates Wine Lodges, which will lead to the creation of 400 jobs.

Hays has acquired Ceritex, the French call centre services company, for £12m, and Crawfords Computing, the UK database management company, also for £12m.

Hays has won a contract to set up a national distribution network for the B&Q retailing chain, creating 400 jobs.

Hays is acquiring France Partner, the French courier company, for an initial £16m, which will increase its share of the French early-morning express delivery market to about 20%.

Hays has acquired Axis Resources, the IT outsourcing company that was recently spun off from Tomkins, for up to £40m.

Hays has acquired Colirail, the French provider of courier services, for £14m.

Hays has acquired Sitinfo, the French computer staff recruitment concern, for up to £13m.

Hays Customer Solutions is planning to create up to 1,000 jobs at a new national call centre at the De Montfort Business Park in Leicester.

Hays is acquiring Castleton Data Services, the billing services company, for up to £15m.

Hays has acquired Delta Medical Express, a courier service based in France and Belgium, for £2.2m, as well as three French recruitment agencies for £18m.

Hays has acquired DEI, the document management company, for an initial £17m, in order to expand its range of back-office support services.

Hays has agreed a £100m five-year contract to distribute goods to Shell's petrol station convenience stores, creating over 400 jobs at five distribution centres.

Hays is expanding its European logistics business with the acquisition of FDS in France and van der Heijden in the Benelux from Mayne Nickless for £72m.

Hays has won a £100m contract to supply shops on BP petrol station forecourts, creating up to 500 jobs at its Milton Keynes distribution operation.

Hays has acquired North & South Installations, the transporter of refrigeration units for retailers, for an initial £4.5m.

Hays is to acquire Daufenbach, the German logistics company, for up to £30m in order to expand its European distribution network.