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Sunday, 25 February

Walk This Way For Week Ending Sept 22 FM Digest

Sofa Carpet Specialist gets cost certainty for its estate

The furniture and flooring retailer, Sofa Carpet Specialist (SCS or as it bizarrely would have it ScS - perhaps they're more sofa than carpet...who knows?) has given Interserve a £6 million contact. (One has to wonder what the contract at DFS would be worth.)

The UK-wide account, which runs for an initial period of three years, covers waste services, planned and reactive mechanical & engineering and fabric maintenance for ScS’ head office in Sunderland as well as its nine warehouses and 100 retail outlets across the UK from Plymouth to Aberdeen.

Interserve’s technical services team will self-deliver maintenance for gas fired combined heat and power, electrical and air conditioning systems, as well as providing gas appliance certification.

Andrew Rawdon, TFM & Technical, sector director at Interserve, said that the account win builds on the group’s strong footprint in the sector: “Interserve delivers facilities services to 5,000 supermarkets and stores in the UK and Ireland every day."

Malcolm Stalker, estates manager at ScS, said: “Retail is a rapidly evolving sector and it’s vital that our partners can adapt their approach to meet our needs and those of our customers. Having a level of cost certainty for our estate is important to our long-term financial modelling and growth plans.”


School dinners - not what they used to be

A new look school meals service has been discovered by Warwickshire pupils this September (bet they still complain to their mum's though).

Educaterers  launched on September 1  and has taken over the delivery of school meals from Warwickshire County Council as part of an ambitious project which has seen the council set up its first Local Authority Traded Company.

Warwickshire County Council has provided a catering service to schools in Warwickshire for over 25 years. By setting up as a new, standalone company, Educaterers has more freedom to compete, bid for new contracts and reinvest back into the business.

As a traded company there is also more flexibility to work with local suppliers and producers. Educaterers is wholly owned by Warwickshire County Council as the sole shareholder.

Cllr Peter Butlin Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property said: “We have launched the council’s first traded company. Educaterers will build on the council’s school catering service, while being able to operate and compete on a more commercial basis.”


Scotland Shopping Centres

Oltec fm (another firm with a odd attitude to acronyms) have been awarded a 3-year contract to supply facilities management services to both Waverley Mall and Rutherglen Exchange shopping centres in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The contract was awarded by retail estate and asset management giant Moorgarth Properties and expands Oltec fm’s Shopping Centres portfolio in Scotland.

Christian Dalby, Moorgarth's Head of Facilities Management, said: “Following a competitive tender process, we decided to appoint Oltec as a single security and cleaning services provider because of their training, innovation and a fully dedicated and responsive Mobile and Senior Management Team."


Record Trading at Robertson Group

Robertson, one of the largest privately owned businesses of its kind in the UK, continues to experience growth in all its Group companies. In its audited accounts to March 2017, the Group has delivered a record year of turnover as well as its strongest ever forward order book, totalling £2.3 billion.

The Stirling based infrastructure, support services and construction group has reported a 28% increase in turnover to a record £580m and PBT of £26m, an increase of 22% on the prior year. This sustainable profit growth has added further value to its already strong balance sheet, with net worth increasing by 34%. Robertson Group enjoyed a £64.4m net cash position at the year end.


Just Ask to drive better outcomes

Just Ask is a facilities management business that works exclusively with Housing Associations, employing nearly 450 people and serving over 50,000 homes.

It is currently growing at about 40% per annum.

Now Bridges has taken a majority stake (£9 million), backing the existing management team – which will be augmented by a new Non-Executive Chairman and Finance Director. The focus will be on driving growth to create jobs and improve the living environment for housing association residents

Just Ask works mainly in the south-east of England, providing a range of services such as cleaning and general grounds maintenance. Under the leadership of Andrew Shiel and Peter Ticehurst, it has grown from a small family business into a company employing nearly 450 people and serving over 50,000 homes. In the last three years, it has increased revenues at a compounded annual growth rate of over 40%. This off-market investment represents the first time the business has taken on external funding, as it looks to support its next phase of growth.

The introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 has increasingly encouraged Housing Associations to consider social value for their residents when procuring third-party services. Residents of housing associations are statistically more likely to have physical or emotional wellbeing issues than the UK average, and less likely to be in employment or training. Just Ask believes that by engaging with residents via community projects and improving their local environment, it can make a tangible difference to their quality of life – while also creating additional employment and apprenticeship opportunities.


Employment services at Wrexham prison

Interserve has signed a £12 million contract with the Ministry of Justice to run six employment workshops at HMP Berwyn, a large new prison in Wrexham for five years.

Picture: One of Oltec's shopping centres

Article written by Brian Shillibeer


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