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Firm hails a bumper half-year for deals

AGM Group, the commercial interiors and maintenance specialist, has secured contracts worth £800,000 during a bumper first half for the Port Glasgow-based firm.

BIG PROJECTS: AGM managing director Andrew Meek says the firm is benefiting from a commercial property upturn.
BIG PROJECTS: AGM managing director Andrew Meek says the firm is benefiting from a commercial property upturn.

The contracts, which mark a 70% uptake on business for its interiors division and a 65% increase for its reactive maintenance arm, include head office refurbishments for a major financial institution in Glasgow.

The project for the unnamed company began in July and is expected to take five months to complete. Eight AGM staff are working on-site, with the contract being carried out under its eMaintain division.

AGM, which was founded by managing director Andrew Meek in 2004, is also working on the refurbishment of 13 Superdrug stores around Scotland, a contract that began in July and is scheduled to be completed by November.

So far, work has finished on stores in East Kilbride, Largs and Glasgow's Bothwell Street, Argyle Street and Byres Road.

Next the team, which numbers 18 staff, will move to work on Superdrug outlets in Glenrothes, Inverness, Dundee, Aberdeen, Leith and the out-of-town shopping centres at Silverburn and Braehead, near Glasgow.

The work is being carried out on behalf of client AS Watson.

Mr Meek said: "They all involve maybe three weeks' work and are running simultaneously. We have drafted quite a few new people in for that [including] experienced site managers.

"We need fully qualified people. That is one thing we struggle [with], getting people who have all the right certificates to do the job.

"They might have a lot of experience but if they do not have first aid certificates or health and safety certificates, we have to look to the next one."

The Superdrug work comes after AGM completed its first project for Halfords, the car maintenance and bike retailer.

The contract, worth more than £150,000, involved the transformation of a former second-hand car dealership in Ayr into a Halfords Autocentre, the company's dedicated MOT and service centre division.

The project saw the premises completely overhauled and extended, with a new concrete floor, doors, cladding and roof added installed. New drainage was put in and the yard was resurfaced as part of the work. Mr Meek said the project has paved the way for further work for the car chain.

He revealed: "Since then, they [Halfords] have given eMaintain jobs [such as] pothole works in Pollokshaws Road in Glasgow. We have been out at another Halfords Autocentre fixing potholes outside the place. This is another example of a bigger fit-out job turning into smaller maintenance activities.

"This is exactly what we structured our business around. The two sectors are very different. Now eMaintain is benefiting from AGM's relationship with Halfords."

The latest contracts secured by AGM come after it carried out a £400,000 refurbishment of a former Jobcentre Plus on Glasgow's Argyle Street on behalf of NHS Lanarkshire. The property is being leased by Salus, the board's occupational health and safety division.

Mr Meek said: "It is open and trading. That job went very well. We are hoping to do more with the NHS . We just have to keep nurturing that relationship."

Mr Meek said his company was benefiting from an upturn he has observed in the commercial property sector. Some of the contracts it is winning were initially tendered for last year, with the clients only now having the funding to go ahead.

He added: "There are so many opportunities out there for developers, in my opinion.

"Property values are low, [the value of] industrial warehousing and land is low. People are seeing redevelopment opportunities [in] sub-dividing units and getting smaller tenants and rents back in.

"There is a lot of property in the hands of banks and administrators. They are just looking to recover the money owed to them so they are going for lower prices."

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