Ridley – best known in the industry for turning QS Faithful & Gould from a local firm to a global brand – has begun talks with industry figures about forming the group by the end of the year. It will specialise in areas such as building surveying, quantity surveying and claims. He has also had meetings with banks and businesses within the sector to discuss funding.
Ridley said: "We are debating whether or not the company would be quoted, but it would probably start off unlisted."
The company is likely to start up with two or three different divisions. It is unclear what position Ridley would take on the board.
We are debating whether or not the firm would be quoted
David Ridley on his new venture
The ambitious start-up size of the company hints at Ridley's frustration at NBA Quantum, which had a turnover of less than £2.6m in the 12 months to 30 June last year. Ridley became chairman last December and had a mission to look at large acquisitions. Such takeover targets would have had a turnover of about £10-20m.
The group had looked at two such purchases for several months, but the board concluded that organic growth and smaller bolt-on acquisitions were more appropriate. Ridley said: "We had a good look at acquisitions, but I wanted to grow the company more quickly, so I am looking at other avenues instead."
Peter Elliott-Hughes, chief executive of NBA Quantum, is taking over the chairmanship until a permanent successor to Ridley is found. He said: "When we first started off [with Ridley] there were two substantial opportunities, but we decided that we have got a very specific product, as we are heavily into dispute resolution. We did not want to get too absorbed into other things."
Ridley was a high-profile appointment when he joined the board, prior to becoming chairman last May.