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Europa builds with Work Inc acquisition

20 May 2009

The facility management and property services businesses, Work Inc Group Limited and Work Facilities Limited have been sold to Europa saving over 200 jobs in the sector and forming Europa Workspace Solutions.

Work Inc merged with Eastlake Group in an £8m deal in 2008. However, Eastlake Group went into receivership last month. PwC Administrators and Receivers completed the sale of Eastlake Work Group facilities management and property services businesses to Europa in just 10 days. Europa has also acquired the business and assets of parts of Eastlake Commercial Interiors, which is part of the Eastlake Work Group Limited. This adds an extra 29 people to the business and means that a total of 239 employees will transfer to Europa as part of the deal. It also means that extra blue chip contracts will be transferred to Europa.

The Work Inc businesses operate from sites in East Kilbride, Newcastle, Wakefield, and Leeds.

Europa is a privately owned FM business operating right across the UK. It acquired the FM business of United Utilities in February 2008 and has since integrated it into its organisation. It employs 1,400 FM professionals with its head office in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Europa delivers integrated FM services across four markets – corporate, public, retail and utilities providing a bespoke or a total package as required.

Work Inc Group is one of the UK's leading workspace solutions businesses. Its services include FM service delivery, furniture lifecycle management and, maintenance, moves and logistics, space planning and furniture supply. It has long term contracts, including FM agreements, and works in a range of sectors with clients. The business has a strong trading history but the parent company has recently become a victim of credit crunch cash pressures. The deal will see Europa re-financing the business and taking on key contracts and assets. Europa will also meet all salary commitments for the 210 employees who will be transferring.

Following the acquisition, the new team will operate as a separate unit, Europa Workspace Solutions. It will continue to serve its existing clients and will enable Europa to offer additional services to its customers across a range of sectors. Clients will be able to take advantage of a flexible business model, choosing the package of services they want.

Bruce Cartwright, Joint Receiver of Eastlake Commercial Interiors Limited and Joint Administrator of Work Inc Group Limited and Work Facilities Limited said: “In such a challenging economic environment, we are delighted to have secured a deal that has resulted in 239 jobs being saved. That we have been able to reach this conclusion within ten days is testament to the ongoing support we have had from customers, suppliers and the employees. The contribution from these stakeholders has been crucial and I would like to thank them for their support throughout this difficult period.”

Greig Brown, Chief Executive Europa Group said: “Buying key elements of Eastlake Commercial Interiors, Work Facilities and Work Inc Group has been a fantastic opportunity for us. The deal gives us some great complimentary services and expertise to offer customers, and allows us to develop our business and establish a stronger profile in the market. We have agreed to meet all outstanding salary commitments, as we want our new employees to stay with the business and help us grow it in the future and we believe this gesture will create a stable platform from which to take the Europa forward. We want motivated, committed employees who feel included in the business - that way we can grow together and deliver a great service that adds value for our customers.”

Europa regards the deal as a natural fit and an opportunity to take another step forwards in realizing its business strategy. In early 2008, Europa acquired UUFM, strengthening its capabilities and position in the utilities sector. At the same time it took steps to strengthen its management team with the addition of new senior personnel with diverse experience gained at Capita, Serco, Emcor and Carillion. The deal will support the planned broadening of Europa's service capabilities and will strengthen its position in key market sectors. Europa is now one of the largest independent UK facilities management companies, with an annual turnover approaching £100m.

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