11 April 2016

I think most feel a sense of pride when we watch our local sporting heroes produce stand-out achievements on the world stage.  Rory McIlroy and recently Carl Frampton are obvious examples.  Personally I am looking forward to a trip to Paris in June to watch Northern Ireland take on Germany in the ‘Euros’ although don’t bet against ‘Norn Iron’ making it through to the knock-out stages!

In business too we have many indigenous, market-leading companies which prosper by remaining independent of UK or international parents.  They do so through a combination of visionary leadership, innovation and of course a great team of employees.  One such company is the Henderson Group based in Mallusk.  This is a Northern Ireland Top 20 company now in its fourth generation of family ownership.  It employs approximately 2,900 people and comprises four companies: Henderson Wholesale Ltd, Henderson Group Property Ltd, Henderson Food Service Ltd and Henderson Retail Ltd.  The latter is best known as it trades under the Spar, Eurospar and Vivo brands operating close to 80 convenience shops across Northern Ireland.  Henderson’s is also the largest petrol filling station operator in the province.  Additionally, they supply hundreds of independently owned shops which operate under their brands.  Such a huge operation requires sizeable administrative and distribution facilities and their Mallusk operation is in excess of 400,000 sq ft and growing.

For many years, we have provided a range of property-related services to the Henderson Group, reporting to the company’s in-house property team.  We are a natural fit.  Osborne King is also a long-established independent company and a market leader in providing property-related consultancy services to businesses throughout Northern Ireland.  Whilst our clients range from multi-national companies to sole traders, our Northern Ireland focus ensures that we have an unrivalled knowledge of the Northern Irish property market.  

As an independent company there is no hiding place.  We have to provide a quality service focused on our clients’ needs and the long-term relationships we build suggest this is what works for our clients also.  Our success is down to a committed experienced team who have bought into the company’s core values; commerciality delivered with integrity.  Perhaps that is why our relationship with the Henderson Group has flourished over the last 14 years.

Our first instruction for the Henderson Group was to report asset valuations for incorporation into their 2002 year end accounts.  We have been providing asset valuations every year since on their rapidly expanding portfolio of trading and investment properties.  Our support services rapidly expanded to include the management of all of their sites on which they have tenants, as well as landlord/tenant negotiations, agency and rating advice.  Working for an organisation which owns one of the largest property portfolios in Northern Ireland but which is predominantly a retail-led business has its challenges albeit these are challenges we relish.  Key to the success of the relationship is an understanding of the Group’s business and the strong partnership built up with Henderson’s property team led by property director, Mark Adrain.

At Osborne King we value our relationships with our clients and take pride in knowing we have played a part in their success, however small. There are definite signs of an improving property market and with our enviable blend of experience and youthful enthusiasm we believe we are ideally placed to provide the advice and services our clients require and value.

This collaborative approach was particularly effective in helping solve the outgrowing of our 22-acre distribution site at Mallusk.  Although the site was already intensively developed, we had drawn up plans to incorporate more warehousing space; not ideal as it would reduce further the already limited circulation and parking space. Osborne King identified the opportunity to buy, off-market, the former Marks & Spencer distribution depot on the opposite side of Mallusk Road.  This site extended to 8.25 acres on which stood a dated 175,000 sq ft distribution facility.  

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