Birmingham chartered surveyors Bigwood has chosen the biggest crisis facing the housing sector for 15 years as the time to expand its business.
The company, established in 1845, said it was keen to develop its property management and estate agency operations. It is targeting firms which are finding the current climate too tough.
Managing director Rory Daly said: “Despite the well reported problems in the current property market Bigwood is announcing that they have decided to expand.
“We are keen to develop further our property management and estate agency businesses by acquiring existing and established property agency companies that are finding the current prevailing market conditions too tough and too challenging.”
In a veiled reference to the problems facing companies such as Chase Midland, he added: “We feel it would be far better for established businesses to be incorporated rather than go bust and, by doing so, such action will save jobs and so redundancies that otherwise would have been inevitable could be avoided.”
Administrators were called in last week to manage the affairs of Chase Norton Construction, the Chase Midland holding company, Chase Homes (Eastern) and Harborne Apartments – a 94-apartment development in Harborne, after the various businesses collapsed after being starved of cash. The problems resulted in the loss of 157 jobs and administrators from three different companies are now trying to salvage what they can.
However, Chase Midland is by means the only casualty of the current housing crisis.
Mr Daly added: “With reports of estate agents closing branch offices and redundancies across the marketplace, it is clear that some firms are feeling the squeeze more than others. But in many cases, these are robust firms with a tremendous track record which have simply run out of cash in the current credit squeeze.”
He said many of the businesses could be saved if they asked for help at an early stage. We are all reminded on a daily basis that cash is king in business, and it is possible to rescue a fundamentally sound business before it goes to the wall if help is sought early enough,” he added.
Bigwood has set out its stall to acquire and support well founded property-related businesses but Mr Daly cautioned that timing was critical.
“If we are consulted in the early stages it can be possible to save jobs and steady a business with an injection of cash to help it trade through temporary difficulties. However, if the situation is left too long then the writing is on the wall and receivership, or at best administration, may be inevitable,” he said.
Bigwood was acquired by Midlands property investors Rory Daly and Paul Bassi, who also own investment and management company Bond Wolfe, in December 2006, and the firm has since incorporated Birmingham management company Peter Checkley & Co into its fold.
The name Bigwood has been part of the world of property throughout the Midlands since 1845. Edwards Son & Bigwood, Edwards Bigwood & Bewlay and Colliers Bigwood & Bewlay are names well known to property owners and professionals alike.
It is from this established family tree that the business has grown and now includes the practices of Leeson Son & Hackett, Cecil Cariss & Son, Robert Martin Associates, Thomas Pinson & Sons and Peter Checkley & Co.
“We think that history may have come full circle and that it is time for Bigwood to embark on another period of expansion and consolidation as it grows to become the pre-eminent Midlands based property consultancy,” said Mr Daly.