Contract cleaning firm Noonan swept up by South African giant Bidvest

Contract cleaning firm Noonan Services - which three years ago bought over the Resource Group in Northern Ireland - has been acquired by Bidvest in South Africa
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SOUTH African freight-to-car sales conglomerate Bidvest has paid €175 million (£156m) to acquire Dublin-based facilities management and contract cleaning group Noonan Services, which has a strong footprint in Northern Ireland.

Noonan, which operates across a number of markets in Britain and Ireland, employs more than 13,000 people in a range of technical, security, cleaning, environmental and ancillary services for the public and private sectors.

In the north it operates from a base at Edgewater business park in Belfast.

In September 2014, Noonan Services bought over the Resource Group (previous known as Maybin), which employed more than 6,000 people including 2,400 in Northern Ireland.

Resource had been in administration at the time, and the move by Noonan protected most of the jobs in the north and ensured continuity of service for its existing clients.

Noonan was established in 1977, and as well as Northern Ireland, has operations in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Waterford and London.

London-based private equity firm Alchemy Partners took control of Noonan Services in 2008 in a €90 million (£80.5m) deal, but put the company back on the market earlier this year.

Yesterday the Johannesburg-listed Bidvest Group, a diversified publicly listed services, trading and distribution company, employing 114,000 people, completed an agreement with Alchemy to acquire the entire shareholding in Noonan. The deal is subject to approval from the South African Reserve Bank.

The existing management team, led by John O'Donoghue, will continue to lead Noonan, building on the successes achieved in recent years.

He said: “Our strategy and the substantial investment in our business and brand, coupled with the strong commitment of management and our employees, have allowed us to consistently outperform the market and to continuously enhance the services we provide to our clients.

"We're delighted to have attracted a new owner of the scale and calibre of Bidvest, committed to the long-term growth and development of the company and sharing our passion for professionalism, innovation and excellence in the way we deliver services to our clients.”

Bidvest's existing facilities management model comprises both hard and soft services and the company has a strong reputation for the quality of its services and its track record in securing high profile outsourcing contracts in its core markets in South Africa.

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