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Managed Support Services looks to buy up firms hit by downturn

Managed Support Services is looking to raise close to £6million from investors through a share placing to fund acquisitions during the downturn.

The move depends on getting approval at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the company on February 28.

MSS - which operates four building services and maintenance companies - admits the coming financial year will be harsh, but it believes it will be able to buy up distressed companies at a reduced rate as they come under pressure due to the downturn.

MSS Chief Executive Simon Beart said: “We have increased our surplus cash balances at a time when cash is becoming increasingly scarce. We will now review a broad portfolio of opportunities as the economic climate worsens.”

Current MSS businesses include HVAC specialist Woods Environmental, building services company Woods Facilities and air conditioning and maintenance specialist Euro Property Services.

Initially the company will be seeking to buy smaller companies which offer similar or complementary services to MSS’s existing businesses.

A company statement said: “Following the appointment of the current management team and a subsequent restructuring, the group has traded profitably and has generated positive operating cash flow in the current financial year.

“The directors have also ensured that the company’s surplus cash resourceschave been preserved.

“The group is, therefore, now well placed to examine acquisition opportunities that the Board believes will emerge as a result of the rapidly worsening economic climate.

“To date the directors have delayed the timing of acquisitions until such time that the
worsening economic environment is fully reflected in the profitability of potential targets and the expectations of vendors.

“Nonetheless, the directors are keen to make acquisitions in order to increase and expand the services of the existing group.”

The company’s interim results released in November for the six months ended
30 September 2008 reported turnover for the period was £16.3 million which generated an operating profit before tax, amortisation of intangible assets and share-based payments of £1million.