Surprise expansion programme to include restructuring, organic growth and acquisitions

Research facility BRE has revealed plans to double turnover and staff numbers in five years as part of a surprise expansion and restructuring programme.

A holding company, provisionally named BRE Holdings, has been formed, which will focus on developing and selling BRE’s land assets, acquiring companies and expanding BRE companies.

Martin Wyatt, chief executive of BRE Group for the past 10 years, will become chief executive of BRE Holdings. Peter Bonfield, previously managing director of the construction division, becomes chief executive of BRE. BRE Trust will remain the parent company.

Wyatt said BRE planned to double turnover to £80m by 2012 and to increase the number of staff from 600 to more than 1,000. Turnover for 2006 was £32m.

Wyatt said: “We want to place BRE in the top quartile of consulting businesses.“We get about 5% profit on turnover and we are aiming for 8-10%.”

The plans include selling off BRE’s Cardington site in Bedfordshire to raise funds for expansion.

Wyatt said BRE’s Watford site was not fit for purpose and revealed that the body would embark on a new-build programme there.

BRE Holdings is looking to make acquisitions, although Wyatt refused to reveal which companies were being considered.

He said: “We are in a position to acquire, although we are not pinning our hopes on it.

“We should buy something within a year or two.”

Existing companies, such as BRE Education & Training and BRE Ventures, would be expanded, but Wyatt said no other companies would be set up.