Marylebone Warwick Balfour Group Plc (´MWB´) has announced that, through its subsidiary MWB Business Exchange (´MWBEX´), it has expanded its service office division with the acquisition of a 67.5% stake in City Executive Centres (´CEC´).
CEC currently manages 13 individual buildings as serviced offices, covering 140,000 sq ft, on behalf of landlords and lessees under individual Operating and Management Agreements (´OMAs´). The serviced offices provide approximately 1,600 workstations across the UK in cities including Edinburgh, Manchester, Cardiff, Newcastle, Bristol, London, Brighton and Norwich.
The acquisition of CEC enables MWBEX to enter the lucrative SME and Start-Up segments in the regional marketplace and strengthens MWBEX´s total market position by increasing the number of its centres by 40% to 46 providing a total of 10,600 workstations. CEC currently operates at 77% occupancy.
MWBEX Chief Executive John Spencer said: ´The acquisition of CEC is important to us as it gives us a second brand, focussed primarily on the regional, non-customer facing SME and Start-Up markets. The average size of these buildings is 10,000 sq ft, providing an alternative to our existing MWBEX city centre sites which average 21,000 sq ft and specialise in serving customer facing SME´s, the professional sector and corporate organisations. This purchase is an integral part of our long term growth strategy and the clear brand distinction means that we are entering a new segment of the flexible office market.´
Existing staff and clients at CEC will benefit from WBEX´s management expertise and share in the advantages of being part of a larger business network.
This latest acquisition follows the recent opening of a new business centre at 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, MWBEX´s first OMA. Spencer said: ´We will continue to grow this business in the UK and currently we are examining a number of opportunities that will help us expand through the acquisition of more OMA´s. These agreements are our favoured route for growth as they are relatively risk free and help balance our current business model.´