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Norwich based Arnolds and Aylsham-based Keys to merge …

Clive Hedges from Keys and Guy Gowing from Arnolds announce the new partnership. Photo by Simon Finlay

Clive Hedges from Keys and Guy Gowing from Arnolds announce the new partnership.

Photo by Simon Finlay

By Annabelle Dickson Business writer

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

9:55 AM

Hopes are high that the merger of two long-established Norfolk property brands will put them in a good position to expand in commercial, residential and holiday markets across Norwich and north Norfolk.

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Partners of Norwich-based Arnold and Aylsham-founded Keys moved to reassure staff there would be no job losses as a result of the merger, with the firms, in fact, recruiting.

Ninety-five staff across both businesses were told yesterday that, from May 1, the brand will be known as Arnolds Keys. Partners of both firms are hoping each other s success in their targeted markets will allow the newly formed merged company to capitalise as the economy recovers.

Keys partner Clive Hedges said: This move brings together two long-standing firms which have complementary strengths. Both share similar values and are leading names in residential estate agency.

Arnolds is a leading player in commercial property right across the county.

The Keys fine art auctions are nationally renowned and the Keys holiday business is well-established and successful.

Arnolds managing partner Guy Gowing said: We both enjoy a very loyal customer and staff base. Many of Keys areas of expertise have been ones which Arnolds has targeted to develop, such as north Norfolk residential sales, letting agents and holidays. We are very keen to target the north Norfolk commercial market.

We ve been very strong in Norwich and we want to replicate that strength.

One of the things we will be looking at is the holiday industry. It has been doing well in recent times and with the staycation, that has continued. We want to expand that into Broadland.

The Norfolk Broads is a big holiday area. We have looked at that in the past but never moved that forward.

He added: From the basis of what we were looking for it was a very good fit. There is very little existing overlap.

It is a good opportunity because things have been quite supressed since the start of the credit crunch. Things will get better and we will be in the best position to capitalise on that.

Mergers on a bigger scale are very common. It has been happening a lot recently.

It is born out of the strength of the firms. We are actually recruiting at the moment.

The new merged firm s head office will be in Norwich.

There are certainly opportunities to expand further in Norfolk and Suffolk and further into East Anglia, he said. We will wait for the right opportunities to come up.

It s having a clear vision of where we want to be and taking the opportunities as and when they come up.

I think there will be lots.

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Norwich based Arnolds and Aylsham-based Keys to merge …

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