Over the last few months they’ve put a fishing boat, an oil jetty, and even a Formula One car under the hammer.
Now the insolvency specialists at SHM in Birmingham have made a purchase of their own, launching the city’s newest independent practice with a management buyout.
The directors at the Birmingham branch of the surveying, valuation and auctioneering firm will be taking over the company, after a year which has seen the recession bring huge amounts of new work towards the office.
And one of their first jobs will be looking after the assets of struggling Welsh football club Merthyr Tydfil, which went into administration earlier this year.
The relaunched firm will be called Mgr Appraisals, taken from the initials of the directors who led the buyout – Richard Mascall, James Gregory and Jim Roberts.
The firm is currently owned by the American group Gordon Brothers, which bought the Birmingham office in 2004, along with other branches in Manchester, Leeds and London. The Birmingham office, as a practice, dates back to 1850.
The Birmingham office has always had a strong focus on manufacturing, but the new owners said the recession meant they were dealing with all kinds of companies, including many professional firms.
It carried out an estimated 200 insolvency jobs in the last year alone.
The Formula One sale came after the office was brought in to deal with the collapse of the Super Aguri racing team in 2008.
All the support staff and work in process from the Gordon Brothers days has been transferred to Mgr.
Mr Mascall said: “Traditionally in a recession, we would go through phases – three months of construction, then you would have retail and automotive. But this has been a cash flow recession, it’s affected everyone.
“For the first time we are seeing a lot of service industries affected, such as recruitment. We are doing a lot more work with the professional services.”
He added the Birmingham team had been working largely as a self-contained unit already, with the firm’s accounts the only part of the business that was done externally. The directors have now taken on a local firm to do the accounts, and say they are looking to recruit.
Mr Roberts, the property specialist at the firm, said the company aimed to expand that side of the business.
He said: “The plus for us is that we have released ourselves from the restraints of the company and this allows us to take the business in whatever direction we want.”
The MBO, which was officially completed on Tuesday, was advised by lawyers at the Wilkes Partnership in Birmingham, with funding arranged by HBOS, and insurance support through the Oval Group.