Crunch gives Abels a chance to grow

PUBLISHED: 09:13 19 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:22 07 July 2010

A prestigious removals firm in Suffolk is set to expand its services into the capital and abroad after joining forces with a Swedish giant to buy a London-based business.

A prestigious removals firm in Suffolk is set to expand its services into the capital and abroad after joining forces with a Swedish giant to buy a London-based business.

Abels Moving Services, of Brandon, which holds a royal warrant to Her Majesty the Queen, has become one of the UK's biggest removals companies by acquiring executive relocation firm, Michael Gerson Ltd.

The royal removals and storage business, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, made a joint bid with Swedish company ICM Kungsholms to form an organisation with a combined turnover of £37m.

The boss of Abels yesterday said the purchase of Michael Gerson Ltd, which operates in Whetstone, London, would help the Suffolk-based firm enter new markets.

But managing director Philip Pertoldi added that the removals and storage business, which has a turnover of £7m, would continue to retain its headquarters in Brandon and would be looking to take on new staff in the area next year.

An undisclosed fee for Michael Gerson Ltd - a specialist in moving company executives internationally - was agreed last week between Abels and ICM Kungsholms.

Mr Pertoldi said Abels Moving Services did 75pc of its work in the domestic removals market, but the purchase of Michael Gerson and collaboration with ICM Kungsholms, would help the company to do more work in London and internationally.

“When we heard of the opportunity to invest in one of Britain's best-known international moving companies we felt it would be a perfect fit with our own core values on customer service. By combining with ICM Kungsholms, it was then possible to bring about the acquisition and we are all excited to consider how we can maximise the strengths of our relative companies in the future.”

“We are all in the removals industry, but we are all in different markets, and there is a great synergy with us all working together,” he said.

Abels Moving Services was formed in 1958. It moved wedding presents for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981 and was awarded a royal warrant in 1988. Abels has a workforce of 80, with around 50 based in Brandon.

Mr Pertoldi said that the opportunity to buy Michael Gerson Ltd came because of the credit crunch and downturn in the housing industry.

“During a downturn there are great opportunities if you are prepared to stretch a little bit and that is why we involved someone not in the UK market. ICM Kungsholms has had a record year and we are going very strong. We have seen a downturn in private moving, but overseas moving has not been affected and we are finding a lot of people are trying to get out of the country,” he said.

The management team at Michael Gerson Ltd will transfer to its new owners and continue to head up a dedicated workforce of 70 employees in London, Northamptonshire, and Swindon.

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