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AiP expands reach with acquisition of The Contract Dining Company

Alliance in Partnership (AiP), a specialist in education catering, has acquired The Contract Dining Company based in Kent, in a deal which will help it to expand its reach in the South East.

Based in Headcorn, near Maidstone, The Contract Dining Company was established in 2004 and provides catering services to 53 schools in Kent, delivering more than 8,000 meals a day.  With a 231-strong team, the business has grown to a turnover of £4 million based on its ethos of only using high quality ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible, in its freshly prepared, healthy menus.

The company’s acquisition by AiP sees it join one of the largest education catering specialists in the UK. Over the last 19 years, AiP has expanded from its Oldbury, West Midlands base to provide over 75,000 meals a day in primary and secondary schools and colleges nationwide.

Paul Rogers, Managing Director of AiP, commenetd: “The addition of The Contract Dining Company to the AiP family will enable us to further strengthen our presence in the South East, giving us a strong foothold in Kent following our recent contract wins in London.  There’s also a close cultural fit between the two businesses as we both share a focus on providing fresh, healthy and nutritious meals for schools.

“The combined group will now serve over 400 schools and colleges throughout the UK and will have combined sales of £33 million, making us a major player in the education catering sector.”

The Contract Dining Company management team, including founder Anne Winn, will remain with the company following the deal.

This latest acquisition follows a multi-million-pound investment made by Leeds and London-based private equity house Key Capital Partners (KCP) in 2014 which also saw KCP partner Owen Trotter join the AiP board.  Over the last three years, KCP has played an active role in driving the company’s growth strategy.


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