Merlx Electrical set for expansion under new owner’s five-year plan

Published: Monday 2nd November 2015 by Rich Sutherland

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A small electrical business which is a key supplier to the region’s property sector is to embark on a major expansion programme after being taken over by a career electrician from Sheffield.

Chris Fawley, who has built electrical businesses for companies throughout Yorkshire during the last 30 years, has drawn up a five-year plan to double the size of Merlx, which is based in Williamson Street, off Holderness Road in Hull.

His strategy is to expand the company’s commercial client base while continuing to provide services to domestic clients. Tony Douglass, who founded Merlx in 2004, will set up his own company to pursue property development and refurbishment, which had become a significant operation within Merlx.

It was Tony’s passion for property which prompted him to look for a buyer for the electrical side of the business. Through contacts in the industry he became aware of Chris, who was looking to buy a business with a strong track record and good growth potential.

The pair began negotiations during the summer and quickly agreed a deal which sees Chris become director of the company and its eight-strong team. He has also agreed a new three-year lease on the Williamson Street premises.

Chris said: “I spent many years working for other people and had reached the stage where I wanted to do it for myself. I looked at a few businesses around South Yorkshire but none of them had the attractions of Merlx.

“It is established, it’s got an extremely good background and it’s got good guys. Tony wanted to leave for the right reasons, everything is in place for us to progress and I saw it as a good opportunity.”

After serving his apprenticeship with Powerminster Gleeson, Chris progressed to setting up and managing electrical divisions and projects for businesses including Hallamshire Heating, J C Electrical, Tilen Electrics and EIC Limited.

As electrical account manager looking after Tesco for Carmel (Group) Ltd he helped to increase the value of the contract from £500,000 to more than £5 million in six years.

Merlx provides services from routine electrical checks and repairs to major installations for clients ranging from householders to multinational corporations. Much of its work is in the Hull and East Yorkshire area, and includes contracts for some of the region’s leading commercial and residential property agents.

Chris said: “The message to our customers it that it is business as usual – they shouldn’t notice any difference in the way that we work.

“The fact that we have signed a new lease shows that we are committed to building the business here and developing our team here. I have a five year plan to double what we are doing and that is based on looking at how Merlx has succeeded here and mirroring that in other areas, where I have a strong network of contacts.”

Tony said: “Once I’d decided that I wanted to set up a new company purely for the property work I started looking for a buyer for the electrical business.

“It wasn’t easy because I wanted to be sure that whoever came in would look after the business, the customers and the team. But it became clear in talking to Chris that we think and work the same way, and I have no doubt that I’m leaving Merlx in very capable hands.”

Pictured: Tony Douglass (left) and Chris Fawley

Published: Monday 2nd November 2015 by Rich Sutherland

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