Consultant Bucknall Austin is 20% ahead of its growth plans just two years after being rescued from administration.
Its second-year results were ahead of expectations, with an operating profit of £652,000 from a turnover of £18.2m. In the firm’s first year it made just £42,000 from £15.8m.
When chairman David Bucknall led a management buyout in 2003, he put in place a five-year business plan. By 2008/09, Bucknall Austin should be making an operating profit of more than £2m and have a net turnover of about £25m.
Bucknall bought back the company his family founded, having left in 1998. At that time the firm was rebranded as part of Citex, but the group failed and was sold off in three sections.
As the company continues to grow, Bucknall will slowly relinquish his control of the business. He said: “My commitment to the company is absolute and the intention is to remain hands on, but gradually move to an ambassadorial role over a two-to-five-year period.”
A revamp of the management structure is taking place to reflect this change. A managing director will be appointed by the end of September, chosen from a shortlist of up to five people.
I intend to remain hands-on but move to an ambassadorial role in two to five years
David Bucknall, chairman
Other board moves have included the appointment of Lance Taylor as business development director. A corporate director will also be in place by September, which will be an internal promotion.
The company’s growth plans do not include a significant increase in staff numbers. The firm employs about 290 people and Bucknall said that this would not rise “too far north” of 350 by 2009.
However, the company will aim to open an office later this year in Newcastle – the city that was the Birmingham firm’s first regional office when it was known as Charles Bucknall Associates in the 1960s. The multidisciplinary consultant is currently working with housebuilder Persimmon on its £200m Newcastle Great Park scheme.
The company has opened offices this year in Liverpool to help it win work on regeneration projects in the run-up to the 2008 European Capital of Culture celebrations, and Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, to provide support for Tesco. The supermarket giant is a key customer for Bucknall Austin, which has provided consultancy on 1350 stores in the past 18 months.