O'Neill's back on acquisition trail

STEPHEN O'Neill, managing director of Newton Property Management, is back on the acquisition trail after his Glasgow-based business posted a near-300 per cent rise in profits to £365,000 after strong performances from its rental and factoring arms.

O'Neill, who founded his firm in 2001 with business partner Derek Macdonald, said revenue had risen by 30 per cent to 1.3 million and that he was targeting 1.7m of turnover in the year ahead. The firm - which last month bought the west of Scotland letting portfolio of Edinburgh-based peer Charles White for 250,000 - has been appointed as property manager for a 20m conversion of a riverside warehouse in Liverpool into 150 flats.

O'Neill said: "We're obviously delighted with our latest set of results and particularly excited about the prospects for the company. Our factoring division has simply outperformed the competition in a sector that is generally considered to be stagnating, while our rental division has taken advantage of a particularly vibrant marketplace."

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Many homeowners who haven't been able to sell their properties during the economic downturn have switched to renting them out instead, giving a boost to property managers.

But O'Neill said it was the factoring business - which accounts for about 75 per cent of his firm's turnover - that offers the biggest potential for growth.

He added: "Competition is not as intense in factoring as it is in letting, but it's still there."

O'Neill said he is looking to make a further acquisition within the factoring sector within the next 12 to 18 months.