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NWC’s Thornton Tasker and High Access’ Niel Bethell

NWC and High Access join forces

Nationwide Window Cleaning (NWC) and High Access Maintenance have joined forces in the inaugural merger of two BGF-backed businesses, the first in the investor’s history.

The merger creates one of the largest independent facilities management services companies in the UK, with a combined revenue of £30 million. BGF has supported the merger with a further capital investment of £5.5 million.

High Access’ Niel Bethell takes the role of Group CEO while NWC’s Thornton Tasker will become the Executive Chairman. Bethell and Tasker founded their businesses in the mid to late 2000s and have pushed forward significant growth in recent years.

The merger was initiated by the two founders and BGF, bringing together the synergies and strengths of the businesses to create one company of significant scale. Customers – which include major retailers, hospital and universities as well as blue chip property development firms – can now benefit from enhanced coverage of the combined group and tap into an even broader service offering.

Leeds-headquartered NWC, which provides window cleaning and specialist cleaning services, has experienced a £10 million increase in revenue, four times increase in profits and has grown its team to 320 since BGF’s investment in 2014. The group has opened a new head office, added an operational base in Crayford, and completed three successful acquisitions.

Working-at-heights specialist High Access, which is headquartered in Manchester, provides building, roof and gutter maintenance as well as safety system testing and glazings, coatings and hire. After partnering with BGF in 2016, the company acquired Scotland-based Outreach Access and AA Access to open up in new markets including hire for film, TV and major sporting venues across the UK.

The new group, which retains the Nationwide Window Cleaning and High Access brands, will become NSS Group.

Speaking about the merger, Bethell of High Access said: “The size and scale of the opportunities for the group are significant. Our job now is to cement our position in the market, and make sure staff and customers benefit from our expanded presence, service offering and fleet.

“We have a clear direction for future growth which will create new career opportunities for our teams over the next couple of years. With the continued support and partnership of BGF, we’re looking forward to this next exciting chapter.”  

BGF, which remains a minority partner in the combined group, has provided total investment of close to £16.5 million to NWC and High Access over six rounds of funding.

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