MALTON-based Mark Blades Electrical has joined forces with Cooper and Westgate Co Ltd, based at Huntington, near York.

The aim, said Mark, is to strengthen their market position and develop the electrical contracting arm of the York building contracting company.

Mark, a former pupil of Hovingham village school and Malton School, started out as an apprentice electrician, working with local companies before setting up his own business six years ago.

The two businesses will operate under the Cooper & Westgate name which has led to Mark Blades being made a director of the company.

He said: “Previously Cooper & Westgate outsourced all their electrical requirements, but it was considered beneficial to have the electrical services under one roof.

“Both companies have been bucking the trend recently by securing full order books, which has strengthened their market position and will take them well into next year.

“Because of their extensive client base and their excellent reputation, it was felt that it was a good time for both companies to amalgamate, and to promote the newly-expanded company.”

He added that both companies had seen several of their direct competitors suffer recently, with some actually closing and having to make staff redundant.

Mr Blades said his six staff will continue to work for the new company which is based at Derwent Walk, Huntington. His commercial and domestic customer base in Ryedale will be serviced by the merged operation.

Mark said: “2009 is going to be an exciting year for all the staff associated with Cooper & Westgate.

“We are not losing any personnel through this merger, and have actually expanded our staff numbers over the last few weeks to accommodate our workload.”

The merged business will directly 24 staff members.