WITH two dozen acquisitions this year so far, Lomond Group has hailed one of its most significant, as it becomes what it claims is the “largest lettings and estate agent in Scotland”.
The acquisition of Edinburgh rival DJ Alexander is the latest among the “fragmented regional markets”.
The move, which was supported by Lomond Group’s private equity partner LDC, brings Lomond Group’s portfolio of managed properties to 9,500 in Scotland, and “significantly strengthens” its presence in the Scottish Central Belt, it said.
It is the group’s 24th acquisition in 2021 and means it now manages more than 30,000 properties throughout the UK.
Both firms were said to have been resilient last year, growing staffing and property numbers despite coronavirus pressures.
DJ Alexander will continue to trade under its existing name, with founder David Alexander leading the Lomond business in Scotland as chief executive.
Andrew Seldon will become chief executive (north and west Scotland) responsible for the group businesses in Glasgow and Aberdeen, reporting to Mr Alexander.
DJ Alexander’s 104 employees will join Lomond Group, bringing the total group headcount to 250 in Scotland and 1,000 across the UK.
Lomond Group said it will also “consolidate its Edinburgh and St Andrews-based agency, Braemore, as well as the Edinburgh branch of its recently acquired Fineholm business, into the DJ Alexander brand”.
The group was formed at the turn of the year when Edinburgh-based Lomond merged with Yorkshire-based Linley & Simpson in a £100 million deal.
Also among the businesses joining Lomond this year are Craigflower Lettings in Edinburgh, Pad Residential and Allison & Co, both based in Manchester, and Halls Estate Agents, Brighton.
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Stuart Pender, Lomond Group chief executive, said the move bolstered its profile in its heartland markets. “DJ Alexander is a highly respected agency in the Scottish Central Belt with a reputation for excellence in the industry,” said Mr Pender. “We are delighted to bring the brand and its people into the Lomond Group, significantly strengthening our presence in Edinburgh and Glasgow.”
Mr Pender also said: “The acquisition emphasises our focus on consolidating fragmented regional markets to enhance the proposition our sector offers to clients while maintaining a local, on-the-ground approach which brings significant benefits to landlords and tenants.”
Mr Alexander hailed those who had helped build the business. He said: “Anyone who has ever worked with me over the last 40 years knows how driven and passionate I am.
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart in helping to establish a trusted and recognisable brand across central Scotland. I will take the same drive and passion to the Lomond Group and look forward to playing my part in establishing it as the UK’S number one agent.”
A spokesperson for Lomond declined to disclose the cost of the acquisition but said: “Whilst the pandemic created significant challenges for the property sector, both Lomond Group and DJ Alexander were resilient during the last financial year, continuing to maintain and grow property levels and staffing.
“There was a small impact on the group due to an increase in void properties but both businesses are jointly optimistic now that the market has normalised.”
Lomond Group now has major hubs in private rental markets including Aberdeen, Birmingham, Brighton, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.
LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, backed the creation of Lomond Group in December 2020, merging Lomond Capital and Linley & Simpson. The private equity firm continues to work closely with the management team to support Lomond Group’s “successful buy and build strategy”.