Fit-out company Skansen Interiors has embarked on a European expansion to triple turnover
The private London firm has created Skansen Interiors AB, which will operate in Sweden and Denmark from a base in Stockholm.
It has also formed an alliance with Bellwater SL in Spain, which was recently the subject of a management buyout after the UK arm and holding company went into administration three weeks ago.
This comes at a time when the fit-out industry is still reeling from the collapse of a number of companies, most recently Bellwater.
Chris Seeley, Skansen’s managing director, who founded the firm in 2001, said the expansion was a natural step.
“We have done three years, and now we want to take it to the next phase and go international. We have worked for some of the biggest companies and we want to be competing with the biggest firms by the end of this year,” he said.
The plan is to take the firm from its £7.5m turnover to sales of £20m this year. Some in the market are sceptical about the future of specialist fit-out firms, because of competition from contractors that also offer interior services.
But Seeley is adamant that despite the failures of Spectrum, Benson and Bellwater in the past six months, it is the right time to expand.
“Interiors is a £1bn market,” said Seeley. “We are still increasing market share so we are just taking business away from our rivals.” In Sweden, Skansen plans to pitch for contracts with a value of about £5m for landlords and tenants.
The Stockholm office will be run by managing director Gunilla Billing, servicing Skansen’s existing UK clients with operations in Scandinavia but also targeting local companies in Sweden and Denmark.
Its alliance with Bellwater SL in Madrid will provide Skansen with a presence throughout the Iberian peninsula.
In London, Skansen has hired a business development team from Bellwater, led by Patrick Lucas-Box. In the rest of the UK, Seeley said he planned to expand the business into Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow in the next five years.
Skansen has also set up a technologies business to concentrate on data centres and laboratories in the IT, pharmaceutical and financial sectors.