Written on the 14 December 2015 by Nick Nichols

A WEEK after hitting the boards of the Australian Securities Exchange, McGrath Limited (ASX:MEA) has announced an aggressive push into the Melbourne market which it describes as one of the best in the world.

The Sydney-based McGrath has initially targeted the beachside suburb of St Kilda for its first office in Victoria with plans to open another three in Melbourne in the first half of next year.

The move comes on the heels of McGrath raising $129.6 million from investors through an IPO priced at $2.10 a share, giving company founder and CEO John McGrath the firepower to tackle the lucrative Melbourne market.

It also comes four years after McGrath expanded out of NSW for the first time and into Queensland, where the company plans to boost its presence further following the IPO capital injection.

The Melbourne move, through a franchise arrangement, was well flagged in the McGrath prospectus.

"Expanding our focus to Melbourne is a natural progression for us as we believe that it is arguably one of the best real estate markets in the world, an urbane international city that sits alongside London and New York," says John McGrath.

"In terms of size it is second only to Sydney, and we believe it presents a wonderful opportunity for our company to bring a very high level of customer service and a broader marketing reach to an already very savvy consumer.

"Melbourne is one of the most exciting and dynamic property markets in Australia, and an important next step in our expansion.

"We have taken our time in selecting franchise partners that share our core values for excellence as well as the desire to grow their own businesses and market share."

McGrath St Kilda will have a team of 23 staff, headed by former Hodges agents Josh Stirling, Shane Goldfarb and Michael Townsend.

"The two main factors that attracted us to McGrath centred around the company's outstanding reputation as an industry leader, and its superior training and support," says Stirling.

"The brand and the people you work with daily is really critical to everything we do.

"Joining McGrath was an easy choice for us and we feel their entry into Melbourne is one of the most exciting initiatives in real estate here in many years and will benefit buyers and sellers enormously."

McGrath's shares continued to hold their ground in early trading today, despite a slump in the broader market led by huge losses on Wall Street over the weekend.

The shares fell towards $1.80 within days of listing on the ASX and have traded above that level for most of the past week.
Author: Nick Nichols





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