21 January 2016 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Royal Mail plc and Cofely Workplace Limited have signed an agreement setting out the former’s intention to acquire the remaining 49 per cent share in facilities manager Romec Limited.
It does not already own this entity and the decision follows a strategic review into the future of the joint venture (JV).
The proposed transaction, which a Royal Mail statement said is still subject to a number of conditions, would see the company become the sole shareholder in Romec.
It would allow Royal Mail “to maximise the synergies arising from full ownership, and streamline Romec’s governance”.
The financial terms of the acquisition have yet to be agreed, but are not expected to be material in the context of the Royal Mail Group as a whole, according to the statement.
It added: “Cofely’s involvement as a partner within the JV to date has allowed continuous development of the Romec business. It has now reached a level of maturity which makes the resumption of facilities management service provision both an attractive and logical transaction for Royal Mail.”
It is intended that Romec will continue to operate as a separate company within the Royal Mail Group and current employees will retain their Romec terms and conditions. A package of measures will be put to a ballot of CWU (the Communications Union) and Unite members in Romec to secure the future of the business.
Royal Mail Group is exploring opportunities to continue to work with Cofely in other areas of its business.
This will include exploring the potential to leverage Cofely’s specialist expertise in embedded energy generation, using Royal Mail’s combined heat and power assets.
Romec has operated under a joint venture since 2002, when Royal Mail sold 49 per cent of it to Haydens. Haydens subsequently sold its stake to construction giant Balfour Beatty. In December 2013, Balfour sold it on to another private company, Cofely.
In autumn 2014, Royal Mail undertook a review of the future of its facilities services provision.
The CWU’s assistant secretary Ray Ellis, said: “Royal Mail’s preferred option was transfer of the whole operation to Cofely.”
He added that the union “pushed as hard as we could for a further, independently chaired review, with full union involvement, to examine Royal Mail’s preferred option and the union’s alternative of bringing Romec in-house as a wholly owned Royal Mail Group subsidiary”.