Citex chief executive Oliver Jones remained in bullish mood, despite seeing his ambition to create a multidisciplinary giant end in the division and sale of his firm.
In 1998, Jones predicted that Citex would float as a FTSE 250 player with a market capitalisation of £250m in a few years’ time. He cited a number of reasons for the failure of the company to take off in the way that he had hoped.

He said Citex had been unable to find suitable acquisitions when it was formed, after a management buyout of listed QS Bucknall Group. It has then taken too long to carry out a restructuring and had been hit by a fall in demand for corporate outsourcing deals after the collapse in technology stocks last year.

Jones said the fundamental difference between the two sides of the business – facilities management and quantity surveying on one side and project management on the other – emerged at the end of last year.

“We were coming second or third in major property outsourcing deals – we always had the disadvantage of not having a big balance sheet behind us for such deals.”

We attracted big clients and did a lot of what we intended to achieve

Oliver Jones

He added that the key ingredient of success in the FM field was size, but this clashed with the project management and QS functions, where flexibility was more important. He said: “You have to be independent in that market, which is best suited to a partnership mode. We had to look at different options for the two sides of the business.”

Despite the failure to establish Citex as a big player in the construction services market, Jones defended the firm’s achievements, such as increasing turnover from £32m to £84m. “We moved the firm into prime contracting in defence and attracted big clients like Coca-Cola and Microsoft. In business terms we did an awful lot of what we intended to achieve.”

Jones said he was looking forward to moving with Citex to Carillion Services.