THE Bell Group, the Lanarkshire firm which claims to be the UK’s largest commercial decorating contractor, has hailed a management buy-out.

The move was made with the support of a seven-figure loan from HSBC UK.

Under its new stewardship, Bell Group plans to complete acquisitions, continue to diversify its services, and "improve business operations as part of an organic growth strategy over the next five years".

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Craig Bell, chief executive of Bell Group and major shareholder, said: “We have seen a real step change in the work we’ve completed over the last six months and we’re very excited about the future.

"The pandemic understandably slowed our growth over the last year, but our forecasts for this year are very strong."

He added: "As new owners we’re excited to continue to build on the legacy of our predecessors over the past 37 years."

Scott Wilson, of HSBC, said: “Bell Group is a great Scottish business success story, having built up impressive growth over many years."

Bell, which has its headquarters in Airdrie, has 31 locations across the UK and employs over 1,600.

The company forecasts turnover of £150 million for 2021, building on its average year on year growth of 15 per cent. Customers include the NHS and Ministry of Defence.