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New giant hints at more mergers

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New architectural giant Aukett Fitzroy Robinson is hungry for further mergers, it has emerged.

The company was catapulted into the top 10 of the UK's largest practices last week, after the long-awaited tie-up between the Aukett Group and Fitzroy Robinson was finally made official.

However, the directors of the new practice - which will have a combined fee income of £17 million - have hinted they are already eyeing up other targets.

Speaking at MIPIM, the international property fair in Cannes, the company's newly appointed chairman, Jose Luis Ripoll, claimed more market moves could be in the pipeline.

'This is the first merger, ' said the former Aukett chief. 'The market will take note of this.' Fitzroy Robinson's Nicholas Thompson, who becomes the company's new chief executive, agreed.

'Because it has all gone so well, instead of saying we have to have a long integration period, we may find it's not too long before we move on, ' he said.

'We want to be a major European player, which means we have to be bigger in the UK.' The new leadership at Aukett Fitzroy Robinson has also quashed rumours that the deal, effectively a reverse takeover, would lead to widespread redundancies.

Thompson said: 'We don't want to lose the skills we've got, and we're trying to build up our other sectors. There will be some form of rationalisation, but we're looking to grow, not to shrink.' The merger is the second major corporate deal for Fitzroy Robinson in less than a year, following hot on the heels of its recent takeover of Moscow-based Mikhail Mandrigin Associates.

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