The Co-operative Group has launched a £100m building services business after merging its engineering, retail equipment supply and energy management arms.
CWS Engineering, CWS Scales and CWS Energy and Transport have been brought together to form Syncro, which has 600 staff.

It will target building maintenance, retail design and equipment, energy supplies and ventilation and electrical installation.

A spokesperson said: "The three businesses on their own were sleeping giants, but this wakes them up." Trevor Webb, formerly head of CWS Engineering, has been made managing director of Syncro, which will be based in Manchester.

He said: "The creation of Syncro is a radical step for the Co-operative Group. There are few other organisations in the UK that can offer expertise in this wide range of areas." The spokesperson added that the merger would save money, but that the full benefits would be seen in three to five years.

Syncro takes over responsibility for the Co-op's existing clients including McDonald's, BAA and Her Majesty's Prisons.

The £4.5bn-turnover group operates in the food, retail, distribution, funeral services and travel sectors.