Deal extends Nurture's coverage

Surrey-based Nurture Landscapes extends coverage into Scotland by acquiring JMK Groundcare.

Acquisition: boost for turnover
Acquisition: boost for turnover

Nurture Landscapes has achieved its ambition of British geographical coverage with the acquisition of JMK Groundcare, based in Kilmarnock near Glasgow.

This gives the Surrey-based company operations throughout Scotland including Perth, where JMK has a second depot, and boosts the company's projected turnover for 2014-15 from £14m to just over £17m.

The 69-employee JMK is a similar size to Park View Landscapes, which Nurture acquired in 2012. Park View's turnover has risen from £3.3m to £5m since then. Similarly, Nurture expects to double annual sales at JMK from just over £3m. Some £2.5m of this is landscape maintenance, housing maintenance and winter gritting.

Nurture owner and managing director Peter Fane said: "It's very exciting. We only had a small depot outside Glasgow before. This gives us the breath and geographical range we wanted. It gives us a good base to work from - we have genuine national coverage. We don't have any great plans to do any further acquisitions for another 12 months or so."

JMK owner John Kiltie established the company after leaving his former job as managing director of Mitchell & Struthers in 2000. Fane said Kiltie has decided "to hang up his boots" but will continue to work full-time for three months and then part-time for a further nine. The acquisition completed on 30 September.

The company has two contract managers and three regional supervisors. The regional contract manager is Drew McLanachan. Nurture's northern director will now also cover Scotland.

Fane said there will be some centralisation of back-office functions that will affect the four office staff but he has no plans to cut any other jobs. Instead he will appoint two new contract managers and a full-time business development manager. He is also considering establishing an apprenticeship programme.

Nurture is also investing around £25,000 in an IT upgrade and a new storage building for its main yard.

Unlike the other companies Nurture has taken over, JMK will continue to trade under its old name because "it's well known and the Scottish like dealing with local companies", said Fane.

Strategic acquisitions Last in first series

The purchase of JMK Groundcare is the last in the planned first series of strategic acquisitions by Nurture Landscapes.

The company follows an established pattern of identifying small and medium-sized privately owned landscape maintenance companies where the owner is nearing or at retirement age and negotiating a graceful exit.

Managing director Peter Fane said he "had been chatting up (JMK owner John) Kiltie for two years". However, he had been concerned at the possibility of a "yes" vote in the referendum.

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