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Surveyors merge as Allied snaps up Murray and Muir
Monday 30 March 2015
TWO Scottish chartered surveying firms have merged in a move which
comes as the recovery of the property market north of the Border
continues to gather pace.
Allied Surveyors Scotland, one of Scotland's biggest independent
chartered surveyors, has acquired residential specialist Murray and Muir
for an undisclosed fee.
The deal has resulted in unspecified windfalls for the Murray and
Muir directors, who include Hugh Campbell, Ian Donald, Grant Williams
and Martin Paul.
The four directors have moved across with 13 other staff to the
Allied operation, which has 30 offices across Scotland. Murray and Muir
will cease as a trading name on April 1, with the enlarged Allied
operation employing more than 160 staff and 36 directors. Mr Donald
intends to retire during the course of the year.
Allied, whose clients include major banks, estate agents, investors
and developers, offers a broad range of chartered surveying services,
including residential and commercial property valuations.
Murray and Muir, which generates the bulk of its clients from
solicitor referrals, carries out residential valuations for individuals,
large and small businesses, banks and building societies.
Although the transaction has been presented as a merger, it is in
effect an acquisition by Allied, which turns over around ￡12 million
annually compared with Murray and Muir's ￡950,000. Asked to comment on
the attractions of the deal, Allied chairman Grant Robertson highlighted
the strength of the 125 year old Murray and Muir's residential client
base, which he said Allied aimed to build on by offering those clients a
range of commercial services. And he said there was a geographical
benefit to the merger, explaining that Murray and Muir's offices in
Glasgow and Edinburgh would complement Allied's in locations such as
Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Fort William, Ayr and Dundee.
Describing Murray and Murray as the "most highly respected"
residential surveyor in Scotland over the last 30 years, Mr Robertson
said: "Since I left college in 1983 they have been a company I have
hugely admired. They've got a fantastic client bank, established over
decades. They specialise in residential, so from our perspective we're
looking at that client bank and saying well we can now add commercial,
residential, development, building and consultancy services to that."
The quality of the Murray and Muir staff had also been a big
attraction of the deal, added Mr Robertson, noting it emerged from the
downturn with its team intact and with new blood continuing to come in
thanks to its graduate recruitment activity. This has come as a host of
independent surveyors have been swallowed up by bigger players or fallen
by the wayside as the volume of work dried up following the property
crash, notably between 2007 and 2009 when the market in the central belt
contracted by 65 per cent. Mr Robertson said: "Murray and Muir have got
some really good partners and staff as well. Surveyors are short on
quality people just now because the market has been so flat for the last
Mr Robertson added: "The one thing Murray and Muir have done very
well as a niche player has been to maintain their quality of investment
into graduates to bring their into their business. From our perspective
the wealth of people in that business is hugely important to us as
Mr Robertson, meanwhile, said a key attraction for the senior Allied
team had been to ensure continuing career opportunities for their staff
as part of a bigger organisation. He said: "Murray and Muir are very
unusual, and the reason there is such interest in this is that they have
survived the downturn the residential side of our business has seen
over the last few years intact and growing, which is real testament to
The Murray and Muir deal comes after Allied acquired McNeill Maguire
& McCreath, a niche residential player in Edinburgh, in September.
Mr Campbell, Murray and Muir's former managing partner, said: "This
merger is great news for our clients and staff as we will now be part of
a stronger network with the ability to offer a much broader range of
surveying services. Our staff will have enhanced career and
opportunities within a modern and progressive firm."
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