2013 review: First quarter (Jan-Mar)

The year began with distributors lamenting the implications of manufacturers putting up their prices.

A number of suppliers issued revised price lists in time for the New Year, with prices typically rising 3% to 5%. Dealers said they weren’t so much bothered about the cost of the kit going up, but rather the notice period given. “We have just won two jobs worth about £400,000 that won’t go in until 2014 but I have got to guesstimate pricing and nobody will stand by me,” said Graham Harrison at ABM Catering for Leisure.

Elsewhere, TSI’s assets were acquired by its managing director after it fell into administration, Sigma formed its own installation and service company, and Meiko revealed a new six-band retrospective rebate programme for partner dealers.

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Manufacturers’ online sales policies hit the headlines as Classeq drew plaudits from dealers for revising its recommended minimum internet advertising prices following changes to its price list. Distributors said they hoped more suppliers would follow suit in a bid to create a level playing field for sellers and address concerns of severe undercutting from web channels.

The market was also served a reminder of the challenges facing distributors as Stangard Food Service Equipment Limited called in insolvency practitioners and collapsed dealer CEM Catering Equipment’s debts were revealed to be almost £140,000. In other news, Foster’s Paul Veried spoke exclusively about the factors behind its strategic alliance with fellow ITW company Gamko.

Airedale Group officially welcomed a new management team to the fore after CEO Rob Bywell and four other directors secured investment from a private equity firm to carry out an MBO. After reportedly growing its turnover from £10m to £18m in three years, Bywell said the company aimed to build on its momentum. “We have an entrepreneurial drive within our business and our success in a large part has been down to our focus on creating new opportunities,” he said.

Fast Food Brands acquired The Contact Grill Company, Jestic signed US-based food prep brand Vitamix and TT Catering Solutions closed its doors after a downturn in spend from its core pub group clients left the business too depleted to carry on profitability.

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