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Turnover up 80% since 2009 as award-winning HLN Group bucks industry trend to continue expanding

A string of strategic acquisitions has boosted turnover at the award-winning HLN Group (HLN) by 80% since 2009, strengthening its position as a leading UK multi-disciplinary design practice.

Expanding by acquisition has not only boosted HLN’s client base, but also enabled it to build up the engineering consultancy side of its business. 

HLN, which is headquartered in Cardiff and employs a team of 70, provides clients with architectural consultancy, civil and structural engineering and project management services.

Following its latest acquisition of Reading-based, Considere & Partners the Group is still on the acquisition trail, with further acquisitions planned in the Midlands and the South-East.  

Acquiring Considere & Partners has added London’s Dorchester Hotel as well as Eton College to HLN’s client list.

With a full order book, HLN also plans to recruit additional staff.

Chief executive, Mike O’Brien is bullish about the Group’s future: “Expanding by acquisition has paid dividends for HLN as we’ve been able to build up our capacity and expertise and also welcome new clients.  Small businesses like ours are often forced to scale back their operations or even close completely in tough economic times.

“We’re now planning to increase our capacity even further by acquiring a number of stable businesses in the Midlands and the South-East and this will increase our regional coverage in the UK, enabling us to secure new business.”

HLN has received considerable industry recognition recently, winning some prestigious industry awards.  It was awarded ‘BIM Project of the Year’ for its work at Cookham Wood young offenders’ institution in Kent at the 2014 ‘Constructing Excellence in London and the South-East Awards’.

A key member of the design team for the UK Government’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) Early Adopter project, HLN played an integral role in the successful delivery of a three-storey, stackable concrete pod housing block as well as a new two-storey education building via  the Ministry of Justice Framework Agreement.

It has also recently won its first multi-disciplinary project award at the UK Housing Awards.  Its refurbishment and conversion of Grade II-listed Vulcan House won in the ‘Small Development of the Year’ category. 

The project saw HLN refurbish the existing building and convert it into apartments as well as construct new apartments, courtyard parking and landscaping.

Finance Wales has provided HLN with 3 loans since 2007 to back its expansion.

Dave Perez, Senior Portfolio Executive at Finance Wales welcomed HLN’s news: “Mike has always had a clear view of how he wanted to grow and develop HLN. HLN’s diversification strategy is clearly paying dividends.  It has increased its market share significantly through acquisition while building an impressive reputation.”

HLN has also recently received a Welsh Government grant to support its expansion.