Inverness takeover deal targets social housing growth

A well-known construction firm in the Highlands has been bought by a Scottish investment group in a move aimed at fuelling growth in sectors including social housing.

WGC Scotland, which began as William Gray Construction in 2001 and has since grown to become one of the largest in its field in the region, has been acquired by Inverness-based GEG Capital for an undisclosed sum.

All of the 60-strong workforce are being retained with WGC’s commercial manager Rhona Donnelly taking up the role of managing director following the deal.

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The move will see GEG strengthen its position in the Highlands where it already owns civil engineering and construction contractor, Global Infrastructure and safety, environment and engineering consultancy, Mabbett. The businesses already have working relationships with WGC.

WGC will continue as a standalone entity within the group and will target growth in the social housing, industrial and commercial construction sectors.

Donnelly is replacing current managing director Dougal Murray who is retiring later this year. She has over 30 years’ experience in the sector and has driven growth in social housing construction at WGC which works with clients including Albyn Housing, Cairn Housing Association, Highland Council and Highland Housing Alliance.

She said joining GEG Capital was a “great opportunity for a Highland-based and focused construction company like WGC”.

“We have a young, ambitious management team who I’m sure will prosper with the additional support, expertise and training opportunities that will come with our acquisition,” she said.

A recently completed scheme at Avoch in the Highlands is one of a number of social housing projects completed by WGC.

GEG Capital director Jia MacKenzie said the acquisition of WGC Scotland “gives us further breadth to our expertise as we continue to grow the portfolio”.

“The skills that the WGC team offer, present opportunity for growth within the industry and the support from the management team is in place to ensure that they release that potential.”

Recent social housing projects WGC has carried in the Highlands include a 46-home project at Avoch for the Highland Housing Alliance and Cairn Housing and 21-home Highland Council scheme in Slackbuie, Inverness.

Donnelly paid tribute to the role played by Murray in the company’s growth.

“I look forward to building on the excellent relationships we have built up with our loyal local client base - particularly in the social housing sector - and look forward to delivering many more key developments for our communities as well as the varied commercial and industrial projects we are renowned for.”

GEG Capital owns businesses across Scotland, the UK and Ireland. As well as construction and consultancy firms it owns a number of recruitment brands including Global Highland, Cammach Bryant, Be Personnel and Genesis Personnel.

Last month, Cammach Bryant won an initial 12-month contract with SaxaVord - the UK’s first vertical launch space port - to lead a recruitment drive at the company’s launch site and ground station in Unst, Shetland, and head office in Grantown-on-Spey.

SaxaVord Spaceport, which recently received planning approval for its development at Lamba Ness on the UK’s most northerly island, has been designed for the launch of small rockets delivering payloads into low earth orbit.

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