Space buys Holmes out of administration

The future of Holmes Catering Equipment would appear to have been secured after Space UK this morning confirmed it had agreed to buy the business.

Space UK — the parent company of Space Catering Equipment — has done a deal with the administrators to acquire the assets of the York-based distributor, which turns over around £5m a year.

The takeover will strengthen the range of turnkey catering and fit-out solutions that Space can provide and give the company its first foothold in the north of England. It currently operates from its HQ in Gloucester and has a branch office in London.

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Space will retain the existing core Holmes team, saving around 25 jobs.

“We’re excited by the acquisition of the well-established and well-regarded Holmes name and look forward to welcoming the business and its people into the Space fold,” said Space UK’s managing director Ian Bidmead.

“Geographically, the move fits perfectly with what we’re doing and it opens the door to additional projects for us in the retail and hotel sectors, alongside what we already do across foodservice and hospitality in general.”

Bidmead said Space was committed to the “rebuilding the business” as a separate entity and confirmed the new company would have its own management team led by Lee Martin, who brings 25 years’ industry experience to the role.

“Lee has a wealth of knowledge and expertise and knows the business inside out so he’s a good catch for us and someone who can really make our new venture fly,” said Bidmead.

Space UK said Holmes’ capability in shopfitting and joinery was of particular interest to the company given that 12 months ago it set up an interior fit-out business. That division — called Space Interior Contracts — already has a turnover of £1m.

It said it can now look after every aspect of a commercial refurbishment, including the walls, ceilings, floors and M&E needs.

“It’s a fantastic fit for us, being able to bolt on additional capability literally overnight, and very positive news for all our customers, too,” said Bidmead. “Not only can we now do everything that’s needed for a turnkey office, retail or hospitality refurbishment, it gives us a lot more flexibility and control. We can’t wait to get started.”

Holmes Catering Equipment went into administration at the end of October. Administrators Geoffrey Martin & Co said the company had encountered “cash flow issues”.

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