Alistair Pike (Lloyds) (wearing glasses) and Rob McNeil (Baqus) in Liverpool.
Alistair Pike (Lloyds) (wearing glasses) and Rob McNeil (Baqus) in Liverpool.

Baqus plans national expansion after MBO

Construction and property consultancy Baqus Group has been bought out by its management team as it moves to grow its national network.

Liverpool-based Baqus Group plans to follow a buy-and-build strategy, with targeted acquisitions in the sector, funded by £1.2m from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

The firm is also looking to develop a franchise model that will see smaller firms join the Baqus brand.

Baqus provides hands-on expertise including quantity surveyors, project managers, employer’s agents, building surveyors, principal designer advisors and CDM consultancy services to the construction industry.

The management team behind the buyout is led by chief executive Rob McNeill, supported by Jim O’Brien, Brian Williams, Ray Palmer, Paul Warburton, Aidan Lewis and Andy Welch.

Rob McNeill said: “This is the right time for the MBO because several of the founding directors were looking to retire and this option was considered to be the best proposal for all existing shareholders, our clients and rising talent within the business.

“Going forward, it means we have a new, much younger executive team with equity in the business, which will look to consolidate initially and then grow via acquisitions.

“We are also reviewing a franchised model to offer the many smaller firms in our sector the option to join the Baqus Brand.

“Lloyds Bank provided approximately 30% of the funding, but more importantly provided guidance and commercial understanding of our needs in the short and medium term”.

The £6m turnover firm, which was previously listed on the AIM Market until 2011, was created in 2007 through the merger of construction consultants Fletcher McNeill, Boxall Sayer and Denley King. Baqus employs 72 staff across offices in Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Canterbury, Chichester, Manchester, Oxford and Winchester.

Baqus provide services to a wide range of sectors including education, health, commercial and residential, and has developed a particular niche advising the hospitality sector, with clients including hotel chains Premier Inn and Travelodge, and Merlin, the owner of Alton Towers and Legoland Windsor Resort.

It also has a strong presence in the retail sector, working with most of the UK’s leading pub operators, KFC and Co-op Food.

Alistair Pike, SME relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said “The MBO at Baqus means it has a top team that is motivated and well placed to grow and ensure that the group achieves its full potential.

“We have been able to put together a funding package, backed up with locally-based sector expertise that will support Baqus’ exciting plans.

“At Lloyds Bank we are committed to supporting small and medium size businesses like Baqus Group in realising their growth ambitions.

“That’s why we’ve increased our lending to SMEs by 26% since 2011, while the market has contracted by 13%.”

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