First Choice Catering Spares has acquired Combico (UK) Ltd in a move that turns it into the largest supplier of Rational spare parts in the UK.
Stocks of spares will now be transferred from Combico’s premises in Peterborough to First Choice’s HQ in Cannock, where they will be made available for next-day delivery on orders before 5pm.
Combico is also an official provider of Rational technical training, so the move also marks First Choice’s entrance into the engineer training sector.
Combico’s name will now live on by becoming the specialist engineer training arm of First Choice.
Steve Weston, founder of Combico, will continue to run the Rational training courses already planned for this year, with the venue relocating to Cannock.
Weston said the merger was the inevitable consequence of two committed companies striving to succeed in a similar market place.
“We are specialised businesses dedicated to supporting the commercial catering industry service companies,” he said. “Each business has an individual focus and provides a unique service. Together we set a clear benchmark for service and quality in the commercial catering spares industry. When it comes to providing technical support and prompt spares service for Rational cooking appliances we are now clearly the best option.”
First Choice’s managing director, John Whitehouse, said that combining the resources of the two companies was a “win-win” for the customers of both firms.
Combico has built a unique partnership with Rational as an appointed service training and spares partner, and has been approved as a National Technical Training Centre for service technicians. For the last three years, it has won combi oven manufacturer’s Service Partner of the Year award.
The merger has been endorsed by Rational, with UK boss Lee Norton saying it “makes sense” for both sets of customers.
He commented: “Combico has been a very reliable partner to Rational over the years and provided excellent training to our customers and partners. The acquisition by First Choice makes sense and the combination of the existing product knowledge coupled with the more central location for training can only be a benefit for our customers. First Choice already provides great service for the supply of spare parts and cleaning products to our customers and the additional benefit of training will further extend the level of support they give.”