Entrepreneur who saved McGill eyes expansion of relaunched parent firm

The entrepreneur who bought building services company McGill has relaunched his investment firm with an ambitious plan to grow rapidly – including the announcement of further acquisitions.

United Capital starts 2020 with bullish ambitions. Picture: contributed.
United Capital starts 2020 with bullish ambitions. Picture: contributed.

Graeme Carling has relaunched United Capital as the parent company of both McGill and Forfar-based Alliance Electrical, which he acquired in December.

He said the latter acquisition signals the intent of United Capital, which now has a “clear goal and strategy” – to acquire UK-based building services and facilities management companies with a collective turnover of £300 million in the next three years.

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Speaking as chief executive of United Capital, Carling said: “The opportunities to consolidate the fragmented UK building services sector are plentiful, and United Capital will identify and acquire well-performing companies in this sector.”

Additionally, Dundee-based McGill has appointed a new MD. Douglas Thomson is described as an industry expert who previously spent nearly two decades as MD of Aberdeenshire-based construction company Chap Group.


Carling said: “The appointment of a new MD at McGill allows me to focus on driving activity at our group level and focus on getting the deals done. We are actively engaged and at advanced legal stages with companies with a collective turnover of over £50m and these are all expected to complete in the first half of 2020.”

McGill, which was rescued from administration by Carling in March, has also recently won several multi-million-pound contracts.

Carling said Thomson joins at an “important and exciting” time. “When I bought McGill I always said my position as CEO was temporary but that I would remain at the helm until we found the ideal candidate … I am confident that we have found the right person.

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“Douglas is an exceptionally qualified and experienced managing director who will utilise his vast knowledge to ensure the further development of McGill through the next phase of growth… I am excited for what we will achieve in 2020 and beyond.”

Thomson, a civil engineer, is tasked with building on the turnaround of McGill, which saw more than 70 staff hired and the opening of Glasgow and Aberdeen depots in 2019.

He said he looks forward to taking on the task of leading McGill, which he credited with good progress since being saved. “I will look to build on this immediately… I am certain we will continue to grow the business.”