P3’s Gallagher bullish on first year progress

Peter Gallagher, one of the founding partners of P3 Property Consultants, the Manchester-based agency that emerged out of the collapsed Erinaceous at the start of the year, said the first half of 2008 had been "exhilarating" and the firm was well placed to survive the downturn.

Gallagher set up the nine-strong firm of seven fee-earners and two support staff, based in Bruntwood's Lowry House, with fellow 'Ps' office specialist Phil Meakin and industrial agent Paul Daye in January.

Commenting on the firm's first six months of trading, Gallagher said: "We never thought of ourselves as a start-up. We are an experienced group of people that set up P3 with a full order book."

Counterparts at larger established firms have speculated about the ability of P3 to ride out the cashflow constraints of today's poorer market.

Gallagher said cashflow was "critical" but no more so than for any other firm at the moment. He added: "We do not spend a lot of time navel-gazing on the subject of cash. We are paying the wages and covering overheads and it is not a problem for us.

"We are coping with the downturn because we have a nice balanced portfolio of work which is heavily weighted towards stock that is ready to occupy."

He added that P3, which banks with Royal Bank of Scotland, is loan-free and working capital continues to be supplied by the three founding partners.

Gallagher went on: "We obviously had existing clients from before P3 but it has been exciting to start dealing with people that we knew before but had not worked with.

"The whole experience of running the business is exhilarating at the moment."

Gallagher declined to reveal turnover or profit figures for the half-year. He said that unlike many larger rivals, there would be no need to make redundancies to respond to the tighter economy. He pointed out that a graduate surveyor, Dan Rogers, had been recruited from Sheffield University since launching and further appointments were likely in the coming months.

The agency handles 2m sq ft of stock for clients, weighted towards industrial due to having Brixton's holdings at Trafford Park on its books. Income is split roughly equally between office and industrial work.

A strong list of clients includes Barlows, Brixton, Bruntwood, Gladman, Hurstwood Group, Kilmartin, Langtree, Maple Grove, Muse, North West Development Agency, Orbit, Patrick Properties, Property Alliance Group, Willan and Wilson Bowden.

Gallagher added: "This market probably suits us best because it doesn't frighten us and we know this sort of situation well. It was more frightening over the past couple of years, prior to the credit crunch, to watch people being cajoled into deals that didn't make sense then and certainly not now.

"There is a flight to quality among occupiers in this market and once they have found what they want they will pay for it."

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