Nisbets buys controlling stake in Space Catering

Mike Mellor will leave the business he founded this summer following its takeover by Nisbets.

Space Catering (UK) Ltd, the holding company of Space Catering Equipment, Space Interior Contracts, and Holmes Catering Equipment Solutions, confirmed this morning that it has sold a controlling stake in the business to Nisbets.

Nisbets is renowned for its online, catalogue and retail product sales, but this acquisition catapults it into core catering equipment installation and project sales for the first time.

Ian Bidmead, who has been managing director of the company since 2012 will continue in his post along with Louise Chuter and all of the senior management team.

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Mike Mellor, founder of the business in 2000, will leave in the summer this year. Mr Mellor, who suffered with health problems in 2013 and has taken more of a back seat role since then, said: “I am delighted that Nisbets have invested in Space and taken over my shareholding; I cannot think of a more perfect partner to support Ian and the team to take the business forward.

“After 30 years in the catering equipment industry, it is the right time for me to exit and I leave the company in great shape, in good hands and with the backing of one of the industry’s leading companies.”

The last four years have been transformational for Space, with the addition of a manufacturing and interior fit out capability to complement its catering and furniture businesses.

During this time, turnover has doubled with Space becoming one of the leading turnkey design and build companies in the UK.

Bidmead said the scale and infrastructure that Nisbets has would take its business to the next level.

“It will be largely ‘business as usual’ for customers, staff and suppliers alike, as this is an ‘arms length’ acquisition, but we are fortunate to have the backing of such a large and respected organisation as Nisbets behind us, and all of the team are extremely positive about the change. My key managers have known a deal was on the horizon for a while, and have been fully committed to it. They will all continue in their current roles. I am very pleased that the process has been concluded and we can start making plans for the future.”

Space Group acquired Holmes Catering Equipment Solutions at the end of 2014 and has turned the company around from loss-making to profit in the last year. Holmes’ MD, Steve Whittaker will also remain in post as part of the senior management team.

He added: “The Holmes’ business has been transformed since Space took over and this development can only improve things further, giving us another in-house element to our supply chain.”

Paul McMahon, managing director of Nisbets, commented: “We are very excited by this deal at Nisbets. We see this giving added value service to both sets of customers, which can only be good for business.”

The Space business will continue to trade from its headquarters in Gloucester with manufacturing at Holmes Catering Equipment Solutions in York.

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