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CH&Co to merge with HCM Group

Independent caterer and Royal Warrant holder, CH&Co, has announced that it is to merge with the HCM Group (Host Catermasters Group), in a deal which gives the new combined business a turnover approaching £200 million, and a team of 4,500 providing services to over 400 operations across the UK and Ireland.

Tim Jones, chairman (left), Robyn Jones OBE, founder, and Bill Toner, CEO (right)

Tim Jones, chairman (left), Robyn Jones OBE, founder, and Bill Toner, CEO (right)

The new company will be called the CH&Co Group and will be headed up by HCM’s CEO, Bill Toner, who will now be Group CEO, with CH&Co’s co-founders, Robyn and Tim Jones, continuing in their previous roles as founder and chairman respectively.

The deal comes together against a backdrop of an increasingly competitive industry where consolidation is the perfect answer for mid-sized independents ready to take on the largest competitors. According to Bill Toner, the deal makes perfect sense for both companies. He said:

“This merger between CH&Co and HCM Group enables both companies to combine their assets and talent and have the financial strength to compete even more vigorously. We are so much stronger together but although we’re now a bigger company, we’re still made up of a number of smaller, well-established, high calibre brands focused on providing excellent food and service.

“For example, we have Ampersand, Charlton House, Lusso, Chester Boyd, Via 360 and ITA within CH&Co, and Host, Catermasters and Couture within HCM Group. We cover the spectrum from consumer and fully commercial to fixed cost catering for some of the UK’s leading brands and organisations across the business, charity, leisure, education and healthcare sectors.”

Tim Jones added:

“We’re starting to see more consolidation in our industry, some of which is through new entrants to our market, and we want to be leading this because there are only so many opportunities to build on this scale. Between our two companies, we have an excellent track record of long standing client relationships and we’re now represented across a wider range of hospitality sub-sectors than either company was before, which also gives us the operational scale on a national basis to compete even more effectively.

“Both organisations have excellent client retention records and we have a very experienced management team across our new company with in-depth experience of mergers and acquisitions, and post-deal integration. We’re very confident that this merger will go smoothly and both companies will become even stronger as one entity.”

The existing executive management teams of both CH&Co and HCM will remain largely in position but Stuart Lawson, CH&Co’s current group chief executive, is leaving the business in due course having overseen a number of strategic changes and brand reviews within the company over the past 18 months.

Both CH&Co and HCM have enjoyed significant success in recent months with a combined £42.8 million achieved in new sales and retention since January this year, including £19.6 million in new deals and £23.2 million in retained contracts.

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