Eddisons makes its first venture into Ireland

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CHARTERED surveyor Eddisons is gearing up for significant expansion in 2012 as it opens its first overseas offices and creates a number of new divisions within the company.

The Leeds-based firm has doubled its turnover in the last three years to £12.7m and expects to add another £2m to the business in 2012.

Eddisons, which has eight regional offices including Bradford, Huddersfield, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow, is opening two offices in Ireland as well as launching a new licensed leisure and hotels division and expanding its ratings department.

Managing director Nigel McDonald said: “We think there are a lot of opportunities to grow the business in these areas and we think now is the time to expand.”

Eddisons’ new Irish operation will be based in Dublin and Limerick. “Because Ireland has a big debt problem, we are going to transfer our skills over to Ireland,” said Mr McDonald.

“Dublin is the centre of the Irish economy and Limerick is a big Edwardian town which has a lot of properties in financial difficulties.”

He added: “We think there are good opportunities in banking and insolvency work. The Irish banking problem is two years behind the UK problem and we see an expansion in work over there.”

Eddisons, which employs 202 staff, plans to expand further by opening of a third office in Cork in the future. Mr McDonald said there were no plans to open Eddisons offices in other countries.

The firm focuses on four core areas: banking and insolvency work, property management, private sector and public sector work.

The Irish offices will offer the same services as the UK operation: valuations, agency, machinery and business assets, residential and commercial property management; insurance services; and surveying.

The new offices will create seven new jobs, although Eddisons will transfer one or two UK staff to the operation. “We want to bring the Eddisons way to Irish business,” said Mr McDonald. “It will be very much an Irish business but supported from over here because we have a massive skills base. We want to create a sustainable Irish business.”

Meanwhile, the company is launching a new licensed leisure and hotels division, which it hopes will add £2m to its turnover in the next three years.

The team will be led from the firm’s London office by Philip Booth, former director at accountancy firm Grant Thornton in London. It will have six staff, including three in London and one each in Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester.

Mr McDonald said: “There aren’t a lot of surveyors who do licensed leisure and hotels so it is not over-serviced.”

Eddisons is also expanding its ratings department nationally. It previously employed three people in Leeds and one in London but it has now appointed John Hayward, formerly of business rates specialist CVS, as its head of national rating, who will head up a team of four in Manchester and also appoint staff in its London and Birmingham offices.

It hopes the division will have a turnover of £1m in two years.

Mr McDonald said: “We have plodded away at it and it has had a decent turnover of £350,000 and it turns a decent profit but it’s never been anything beyond that. We now want to push it nationally. There will always be ratings work around because it works in a five-year cycle.”

In addition, Eddisons is also planning to target more public sector work in the spring and wants to create a new planning division in the summer. “There is a lot to work out in the public sector and there will be a lot of building disposals,” said Mr McDonald. “We will have one person to coordinate activity so it will be a low investment division.”

He added: “Planning is a long-term investment. If we start to do it now it could be a year or two before it delivers anything.”

Eddisons is also considering opening new offices in the UK in the future, including Newcastle, although Mr McDonald said new offices were dependent on finding the right people to run them.

In addition to all the changes to the business, Eddisons has also updated its 11-year-old logo and created a new website, an exercise which cost about £120,000. Mr McDonald said: “In general, we are doing very well. We have more than doubled our turnover in the last three years and the next target is £20m. But we are not just going for growth, we are doing this to make a profit too.”