New damage restoration company Belfor-Relectronic is planning a massive expansion in the UK following its formation from the merger of Relectronic-Remech and Balfor UK on January 1.

The merged group estimates it now controls up to 10% of the £250m damage management market.

The company's commercial director Neal Courtney said: “Belfor-Relectronic will be seeking to make further acquisitions in the UK damage management market and related areas in 2001.”

Courtney said the damage restoration specialist was planning to open more branches in response to the loss adjusting market's demands for more locally based services.

He said: “By opening branches in areas where there is the potential for new residential business, we expect to generate leads for small commercial work as well.”

Former Belfor UK managing director Dr Greg French is the new boss of Belfor-Relectronic.

Meanwhile, Relectronic-Remech's managing director Roger Arneil has accepted a new role within Belfor International.

Only 14 out of Balfor-Relectronic's combined staff of 140 based in 13 UK locations have left as a result of the merger. Only two were enforced redundancies.

Tamworth, Belfor UK's headquarters, is the new group's main office. Relectronic-Remech's old headquarters at Abingdon in Oxfordshire, becomes the focus for the group's commercial operations.

Courtney said there was little duplication between the two former companies.

Belfor UK's strength was in the residential and commercial restoration markets while Relectronic-Remech's expertise was in mechanical restoration, including electronic repairs.

Belfor UK's Germany-based parent company Belfor International acquired Relectronic-Remech after buying 75% of the company's shares for an undisclosed sum. Belfor International plans eventually to acquire the remaining 25% held by German insurer Tela.

Belfor International's ultimate owner is Haniel, a German company that owns the Lloyds chemist chain in Britain.