Property firm Humberts has added to its rapidly expanding rural division by joining forces with Shropshire-based agricultural agent and cattle auctioneer Halls, which has nine offices in the area.

The move is part of the firm’s ambition to strengthen its presence across the country by taking over key regional businesses. Last year it acquired Kent agents BTF Lister and Calcutt Maclean Standen.

Humberts now has 79 offices, but rural division chairman David Hebditch it was aiming for 90 by the end of the year.

“We were greatly attracted to the depth, professionalism and expertise within Halls.  In particular their specialist knowledge in the livestock sector adds another strand to the services that Humberts can now offer across the UK,” said Mr Hebditch.

Halls’ chairman Peter Willcock said the merger was the culmination of nine months of detailed discussions and he was delighted to join forces with Humberts, which was a positive move for the company and its clients.

“We are very excited about the national brand as a whole, as we believe that the greater resources now available to us, coupled with the expansion plans that Humberts has nationally, will provide considerable benefits to us and our clients,” said Mr Willcock.

“Our fine art auction house in Shrewsbury and the livestock markets in Shrewsbury and Bishops Castle will continue to develop and expand and will complement Humberts’ existing activities,” he added.