A PROPERTY franchising group which became the largest in the UK is re-branding.

Bournemouth-based Martin & Co, which became Martinco PLC after it floated on the Stock Exchange, will operate as the Property Franchise Group.

However, the Martin & Co name will continue to exist, alongside the other franchise names in the group.

Chief executive Ian Wilson said the idea of the new name was to better explain the business model.

But the company would keep the Martin & Co trading name, along with the brand names CJ Hole and Parkers, which were both popular in the Reading/M4 area; Ellis & Co, which was strong in London; and Whitegates, which was well known in the north west.

He said: “They’re regional brands, they operate within a specific catchment. The people that want to join a franchise group like ours and start their own business, they tend to prefer a regional brand.”

The parent company will remain MartinCo PLC.

The past two years have seen the business expand its stable of property brands from one to five, with a network of almost 300 offices, managed by more than 240 franchisees.

In December 2013, the Group began trading on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange through MartinCo PLC.

Mr Wilson said: “This is a fast-growing business in all departments and our next goal is to reach a network of 500 offices by 2018, including organic growth and the acquisition of more brands.”

The company began trading on the alternative investment market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in December 2013.

Its head office in St Stephen’s Road, Bournemouth, has recently doubled in size. Its new set-up includes a showroom which will enable prospective franchisees to see what their new business could look like.

Mr Wilson told the Daily Echo: “There are a lot of people who don’t like having to work for a boss. They would like to run their own business, they would like the freedom.

“What we have to do is say to those people, property is established, it’s not a fad, something that’s going to get overtaken by technology.

“We’ve got a proven model to say if you go into that locality, if you do the things we ask, you to do, overall you’ll build a successful base.”