£400m rise of Glasgow refrigeration supplier

City Refrigeration Holdings, the business set up 30 years ago by Sir Willie Haughey and his wife Susan to service the refrigeration needs of the pub trade, is now turning over almost £400m a year.

The Glasgow-based outfit, which in subsequent years moved into the supply of catering equipment but saw its biggest transformation when it opened a facilities management division, grew its turnover by 23% to £397m last year.

The company also increased its pre-tax profits from £6m to £7.4m, according to annual accounts filed at Companies House and published by The Herald Scotland.

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Facilities management and cleaning represent the majority of City Refrigeration Holdings’ business these days, although its project services arm is involved in the installation of bakery, refrigeration, air conditioning and electrical equipment.

However, that division saw its revenues drop from £90m to £69m last year, the paper reported.

Sales from its rental and maintenance turnover also shrank from more than £4m to £1.6m as the company signalled its intent to focus on its core business.

The paper quoted the company’s directors as writing in the report: “Operating margins were slightly higher than the previous year despite continued investment during the year in the establishment of new services and customers.

“The prospects for 2013 are strong and the board is confident that the investment made during 2012 will result in further growth in both turnover and margin.”

City Refrigeration Holdings made its name off the back of strong relationships with clients such as Bass, Scottish Brewers and Belhaven in the late 80s and early 90s.

In 1994, after it had expanded into the supply and service of refrigeration and catering equipment, it was making sales of £6m a year and employed 90 people. It now employs 12,000 people and has operations overseas.

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