Family affair for Cookco takeover

Caterquip MD Dominic Ricciardi has overseen the firm’s expansion to a new location.

Nottingham-based catering equipment distributor Cookco is being bought out by fellow dealer Catering Equipment Solutions (CES) and reconditioned equipment supplier, Caterquip.

The Peterborough-based buyers are run by siblings, with Anna McNamara the managing director of CES and Dominic Ricciardi her counterpart at Caterquip.

Cookco’s business will now effectively be split in two as Caterquip will take on all the second-hand stock and projects and CES will shoulder the new equipment and installation contracts.

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“We will trade independently but the Cookco name will be kept on both businesses for now to maintain continuity,” Ricciardi revealed to Catering Insight. After a transition period this may change however, with each side of the business being subsumed into its parent company brand.

The deal was initiated by Cookco’s managing director, John Pownall, around mid-2014 and it was finalised at the end of the year. The official takeover date is 9 February, however. “We’ve bought everything in one go: the stock the staff and the vehicles,” detailed Ricciardi.

For both CES and Caterquip the acquisition establishes a north English hub. “This gives us a much larger exposure to the big cities from the M62 corridor upwards,” Ricciardi commented. “Cookco has a 20,000ft2 warehouse full of equipment and we will inter-trade with each other. So between us we will hold a lot of stock.”

To integrate the businesses, Caterquip plans to duplicate its management structure and style from Peterborough to Nottingham. “They have their own service department, so this has helped our expansion on the service side of things too,” added Ricciardi.

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