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60 second interview - Spicer trades on reputation to grow Silverdell


Asbestos remediation specialist Silverdell was bought last month in a reverse takeover by acquisitions company Bow Lane Capital.

Silverdell chief executive Danny T Spicer explains to Alasdair Reisner what the move will mean.

What are the benefits of the takeover for Silverdell?

It is about us looking at the way we grow our business.

We've been focusing on that for the past year so, when the approach was made by Bow Lane Capital, we recognised it as a good fit for the future.

It will be a proper team approach; they have their expertise of the City and we bring our expertise of the asbestos market. We hope the deal will mean we can broaden our horizons. We are already a nationwide business but it is a bit patchy. We want to be able to offer the same level of service to both new and existing customers wherever they are.

Will this grow th be organic or through acquisition?

There will be an element of organic growth because we have developed a reputation that means we can attract people to work for us. With Bow Lane's experience we will also be looking for acquisitions.

That will include complementary businesses such as ground remediation so we can offer the full package.

How big do you want to grow the business?

We want to grow as far as we can. We know the size of the market and we know we could be bigger. There are only four or five companies in the country that can offer the resources we do. I think the buyout puts us in a league of our own. We can out-resource rivals, but I still want to treat each job like we were a little firm.

How big is the asbestos market?

The market is said to be worth around £10 billion between now and 2050 when 85 per cent of the work will be done.

But that is a moving target as new discoveries of where asbestos has been used are made. We will see £390 million-wor th of work this year.

How do you overcome the view that the market is still full of cowboy operatives?

The people who work for us make us what we are. The industry is becoming more professional. Clients are demanding that because they know what the risks are if things go wrong. There is still a cowboy element out there but they are being shaken out because clients are beginning to demand to work with companies with a provable track record.

What is the maximum value of job you will take on?

Historically we do two or three contracts worth more than £1 million each year, such as the Royal Festival Hall, which we are just finishing. There are a couple more jobs like that.

We can't ake these jobs by the scruff of the neck and can take their worries away.

How do you find securing insurance for your firm?

Insurance is expensive but it is like your car insurance; it comes down to your record. If you have been doing this for 27 years without a claim you will find it easy. In fact it acts as a barrier to entry for firms trying to get into the market, so it works in our favour.