GVA Grimley gains funding for growth

GVA Grimley was relaunched as a limited company this week in a move that is intended to make it easier to expand its planning consultancy business.

The firm has secured £40 million from equity provider Lloyds TSB Development Capital to broaden its ownership to 165 of its 236 partners who do not currently own shares in the company.

The move will include 27 salaried partners in its planning, development and regeneration (PDR) consultancy team.

GVA Grimley has recently bought regional practices Lamb & Edge in Newcastle and Osmond Tricks in Bristol. It believes that limited status would make it easier to acquire larger companies by providing quicker access to capital.

PDR head Stephen Brown said the funding would also be used to pick up specialist teams from other companies. Last month it launched a planning and regeneration team in Newcastle after recruiting four planners from law firm Ward Hadaway (Planning, 12 October, p8).

The firm wants to increase market share on the regional planning side, said North West office partner Gerry Hughes. One aim is to "make a commitment to Merseyside" and introduce planning staff in its Liverpool office.

The PDR team has 140 staff in 13 regional offices. "We are going to be more nimble and able to deploy funds more quickly. We will also provide more benefits for all our partners that will help with recruitment and retention," said PDR equity partner Stephen Hollowood.

In the year to 30 April, GVA Grimley netted revenues of £148 million, with around 50 per cent generated by regional offices.


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