Comcat shores up business with £1.25m NHS win

Catering equipment repair firm Comcat Engineering has secured a five-year NHS kitchen maintenance contract that underlines its position as one of the fastest growing service providers in Scotland.

The five-year framework agreement with NHS North of Scotland is worth an estimated £250,000 a year to the company, its managing director David Carslaw said.

Comcat will serve as the preferred supplier for the maintenance, repair and sale of all commercial catering, refrigeration, warewash and laundry equipment for hospital kitchens in the Highlands, Lochaber and Grampian region.

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With existing Highland Council and Moray Council contracts taken into account, the company now purports to be the largest provider of catering maintenance services to local authorities in northern Scotland.

Last year Comcat bagged a separate three-year maintenance and repair contract with NHS Grampian, which has already added £175,000 to its turnover over the last 12 months.

“The new framework agreement is significant to us because the largest portion of the contract will be in the Grampian region, which is our main area of growth,” explained Carslaw. “It is nice to have the comfort of knowing that we have the business from these major clients for the next five years.”

Comcat has operated a branch in Inverness for 20 years, while four years ago it opened a hub in Aberdeen. It now employs eight engineers in Aberdeen and is currently in the process of recruiting for a further two. In Inverness it has 10 technicians, which is currently a suitable number for the business it does. As all engineers are crossed trained in gas safety, refrigeration and NIECE electrics, the company tends not to use sub-contractors.

Local authority business from councils, social work and healthcare now contributes around 40% of Comcat’s sales. But while the latest NHS contract win provides a major boost to the business, Carslaw insists the firm won’t attempt to bite off more than it can chew.

“We are not looking to target other NHS contracts at present as we are based in North of Scotland and don’t want to overstretch ourselves,” he said. “We will consolidate the business we have first and then when we are up to speed with that we will consider other contracts.”

Last year Comcat received a Royal warrant after providing catering engineer services to the Queen’s house in Balmoral for the past five years.

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