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Baqus to buy ‘two firms every year’

The first quantity surveyor to float on the London Stock Exchange is looking to snap up smaller firms as it battles larger rivals for bigger jobs.

Baqus was formed out of the merger of regional firms Boxall Sayer, Fletcher McNeill and Denley King in August with a remit to take on national players such as Atkins and Cyril Sweett.

It will take a listing on the Alternative Investment Market tomorrow and is expected to be worth around £7 million.

Chief executive Clive Sayer said: “We’re planning on expanding by buying two companies a year, as well as through organic growth.

“We’re not looking at aggressive takeovers, though. We’re looking for people who want to join something larger, who believe in our model.”

Mr Sayer said he expects the firm to be worth £20 million by 2011 and close to £100 million within a decade.

He added: “It’s a fragmented market at the moment. The top eight control around 45 per cent of it and then there are a lot of little firms. We expect to see a very rapid moving together in the market.”

The float will also see a return of Roger Knowles, who will be chairman of Baqus.

Mr Knowles was chairman at James R Knowles, the construction claims consultant that was also listed on AIM until last summer.

He said: “The public sector is looking to deal with fewer firms but over longer periods. Things like PFI and framework agreements are making it harder for smaller firms to get jobs.

“At present, most small companies are either private or they’re limited partnerships. Neither model works well. We think ours is a better way.”