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Osborne sheds £40m property maintenance division

4 Sep 23 Two years after quitting civil engineering, Geoffrey Osborne Ltd has taken another step back to its building industry roots and sold its housing maintenance division.

Osborne Property Services managing director Vicky Fordham-Lewis
Osborne Property Services managing director Vicky Fordham-Lewis

Newly-formed Cardo Group has agreed to buy Osborne Property Services Limited (OPSL) for an undisclosed sum.

Cardo was formed earlier this year when social housing maintenance contractor LCB Group was sold by its founder, Liam Christopher Bevan, to Buckthorn Partners – the same private equity group that bought Amey from Ferrovial last year. Buckthorn partners include former chancellor Philip Hammond and former energy minister Colin Moynihan.

In August 2021 Osborne sold its civil engineering division, Osborne Infrastructure Limited, to London private equity firm Sullivan Street. Osborne Infrastructure was subsequently renamed Octavius Infrastructure.

The sale of OPSL represents a further consolidation for the privately-owned building contractor.

OPSL turned over £42m last year and is on track to do £52 this year. All 220 staff (60% of whom work in housing maintenance trades) are transferring to Cardo, including managing director Vicky Fordham-Lewis.

LCB turned over £37m in 2022/23 and is also on track for £52m turnover this year.

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An Osborne Group spokesperson said: “We have agreed the sale of OPSL today in the latest stage of the strategic review undertaken by the board earlier this year. OPSL will thrive under its new owner and we look forward to seeing the business continue its success.

“The board is continuing to implement the outcomes of the review, focusing the group on its core business of construction and development. Our existing projects are all going well and we are on track to deliver for our customers. The order book for 2024 continues to grow, with strong projected revenues next year.”

Liam Bevan, chief executive of Cardo Group since its formation via the majority acquisition of LBC in May, said: “I am delighted to welcome everyone at OPSL to the Cardo Group. They come with a proud history of doing great work in our sector. and I’m confident that, with Vicky and her team, we’ll go from strength to strength. I look forward to working with them all. This acquisition is an important step for us as we continue on our path to build a national footprint.”

Vicky Fordham-Lewis said: “I am very proud to have been part of the Osborne Group. I believe that now is the perfect time for all of us at OPSL to seize this amazing opportunity.  I am tremendously excited by our collaboration with Cardo Group and feel that the growing group’s collective strengths in the fields of building maintenance and retrofit will allow us to evolve into a market leader, delivering the very best services to the social housing sector.”

Osborne group chief executive Dave Smith said: “I am grateful to Vicky and everyone at OPSL for their unwavering commitment to delivering high quality work for Osborne over many years. We are confident they have a bright future with Liam and Jane in the Cardo Group where they will sit alongside like-minded social housing building maintenance and retrofit specialists.  We know they will all thrive there, we thank them and wish them well.”

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