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Capita plans two architectural acquisitions 'by Christmas'

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Capita Percy Thomas is readying itself for a series of major architectural take-overs, the AJ has learnt.

The massive commercial player, which bought Norman + Dawbarn earlier this year, is expected to buy another two firms at least before Christmas.

And the practice, which finished in seventh place in the 2005 AJ100, will not stop there. Robert Firth, the group's head of architecture, told the AJ that it had three more acquisitions in its sights for 2006.

Firth said that the two purchases lined up for before Christmas would have a combined staff the size of Norman + Dawbarn, which employed 30 architects at the time of the takeover.

It is as yet unclear how big the acquisitions planned for the new year will be. But it can be certain that the only practice backed by a FTSE 100 owner will see considerable growth in the next 12 months.

Capita Symonds, the division that oversees the company's architecture group, bought Percy Thomas when the Welsh practice found itself in financial trouble in 2004. This deal saw it move up a place in the AJ 100, with an increase of 44 architects.

Then, earlier this year, the firm's bosses pounced on the opportunity to buy up Norman + Dawbarn, when the London- and Guildford-based practice was faced with similar financial difficulties.

by Ed Dorrell

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