Infrastructure consultancy Mouchel has launched a property arm that it hopes will generate business worth £10m a year by 2009.
The 20-strong division, called MP Property, will be headed by Matthew Goddin and comes after an exodus of senior staff from its project management arm, Hornagold & Hills, which it bought in November last year.
Goddin said that the aim of MP Property was to make Mouchel a “serious player” in areas such as further and higher education, health and corporate business.
He added that the division had been planned before last year’s merger with Hornagold & Hills but that the integration of the company into the rest of Mouchel had “crystallised in our minds” other opportunities.
He said: “The new arm will be differentiated from Mouchel’s existing property business, which turns over between £75m and £85m a year but is largely in local government.”
Goddin, who was previously technical director at Mouchel, said the new arm was about developing new business outside local government. He said: “In some ways it is easier to take advantage of opportunities if you are set up to market yourself in a more disciplined way.”
He said it would be taking advantage of a changing property market, which now includes, for example, Building Schools for the Future.
He added: “I want the business to deliver turnover of £5-10m within the first two years.”
The new arm will be differentiated from Mouchel’s existing property business
Matthew Goddin, MP Property
The first year is budgeted to deliver up to £3m in turnover.
Mouchel, which last month reported an 82% rise in pre-tax profit to £48.1m for the year to July, is acquisition-hungry and looking for more purchases.
Goddin refused to speculate on what it might buy to bolster his division, but said Mouchel had grown “organically and inorganically, and all options are open to us”. His brief was to “grow the business quickly”.
Richard Cuthbert, the chief executive, has said before that he was looking for similar bolt-on purchases with a turnover of more than £10m.
The merger with Hornagold & Hills is regarded as a success, despite the fact that Stan Hornagold, the founder, left early this year.
Goddin said Hornagold & Hills had now been integrated into Mouchel and he was working closely with directors.
Goddin said the merger meant there were partnerships in projects such as the £4m refurbishment of the Cass and Claredale halls of residence in east London. The project management is being led by Hornagold & Hills while Mouchel is doing design services.
For more on the purchase of Hornagold & Hills search www.building.co.uk/archive