Spotless to expand into north-west of England

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A SCOTTISH cleaning company that lists Maclay Murray & Spens, Jones Lang LaSalle and Virgin Money among its clients is to expand into the north-west of England and Yorkshire after selling its hygiene arm to industry giant PHS.

Edinburgh-based Spotless Cleaning already employs more than 1,000 people and turns over some £10 million a year thanks to deals with facility management companies and property firms.

Strategic partnerships with businesses including Aim Hygiene Services has led to work for high street lender Northern Rock and fashion chain River Island.

Spotless is sitting on a £500,000 war chest to fund its expansion strategy after its sister company, Daisy Hygiene Supplies, was sold to PHS last year for £1 million.

Roger Green, who founded Spotless in 1988 while studying Swedish and metaphysics at Edinburgh University, stood down as managing director in July and brought in former Ernst & Young accountant Niall Moffat to run his business.

Moffat took a 10 per cent stake in Spotless, with the rest of the management team sharing a further 10 per cent holding and Green hanging on to the majority stake.

Moffat told Scotland on Sunday that Spotless’ operations in Newcastle already turn over about £1m a year and employ some 250 staff.

He aims to grow his English revenues to £4m within the next four years and bring the headcount up to about 700 staff, nearly matching the present total in Scotland.

“We have looked at a number of acquisition opportunities in England but the right deal hasn’t come up,” said Moffat .

“Instead, we’ve invested the cash by hiring business development managers for the north-east and north-west of England.”

Moffat said he would be targeting accountancy and law firms south of the Border, building on the success that the firm has enjoyed in these markets in Scotland.

He said that the company – which also has offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow and London – wanted to shed the “mum with a mop” reputation of cleaning firms and instead position itself as a “service provider”, in the same manner to accountants or lawyers.

Shaun Millican, a partner at accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael, which has advised on the expansion strategy, said: “Despite the ongoing challenges in the economy, Spotless are an example of what can be achieved with a clear strategy and motivated management team.”