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Capita eyes up more acquisitions

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Following its latest surprise purchase of a medium-sized practice, services firm Capita has revealed it plans further acquisitions.

The multinational giant has admitted it is hungry for more architectural takeovers, hinting there are likely to be more in the next 12 months.

This comes just a week after the company bought the assets and business of London and Guildford practice Norman + Dawbarn.

The move will see the practice join Capita's architecture arm, which was renamed Capita Percy Thomas last year after the firm bought the Welsh practice.

Norman + Dawbarn was founded in 1934 and, with 40 staff - including nearly 30 architects - was a fairly significant player in the public-sector market and masterplanning.

It is understood that the practice's directors only agreed to the takeover after it was forced to call in the administrators due to cashflow problems on several big jobs.

But Capita's executive director for building design Andrew Murray told the AJ that this was just the beginning. 'We do have an acquisition strategy and, more likely than not, we will soon be looking at more takeovers, ' he said.

'We are always keen to look at other possibilities. The average practice is still just three strong. And these smaller practices are really struggling to cope with the big schemes at the moment when one or two slow down. They cannot maintain a big staff if the jobs go off the boil.

'We need to get more architects somehow, ' Murray stressed. 'And this is one of the reasons we have an acquisition strategy.' Murray added that the successful addition of Percy Thomas last year to the company had persuaded Norman + Dawbarn to consider the deal.

'They looked at how well last year went and thought it would be okay. We are really pleased to be taking them on, as they will complement our current staff and workload, ' he said.

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