Major distributor Airedale Group has acquired refrigeration and air conditioning servicing specialist Flowrite Refrigeration.
Commenting on the acquisition, Airedale Group’s CEO Rob Bywell said: “This is a significant and exciting investment and one that creates a compelling proposition. The acquisition of Flowrite coupled with our existing service operation, creates the largest specialist maintenance platform operating in the UK hospitality sector today, with a combined total of over 200 hundred service technicians.
“Following the acquisition, Airedale’s offer is truly end-to-end; design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of everything in the commercial kitchen throughout the UK, which we believe to be a first in the UK market.”
Flowrite is a well-known name in the refrigeration and air conditioning service market. The company has a customer base which includes some of the UK’s largest hospitality and retail brands. They receive a service from Flowrite’s technology platforms and professional team of 100 engineers based throughout the UK.
Flowrite, under the leadership of CEO Tod Harrison, has grown revenues through a combination of attracting new customers and expanding its geographic footprint – transitioning the business from a strong regional provider to a national player. The firm was also recently awarded National Contractor of the Year in the Annual RAC Cooling Awards.
Harrison commented: “We are very proud of what we have achieved as a team over the last 3 years with the support from our investment partner, Foresight. However we all believed the time was right for the next stage of our development.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that the team at Airedale is one of the most professional and entrepreneurial operating in the sector today and their track record is second to none. As a business they buy, invest and support their acquisitions.
“This philosophy of building a group of highly complementary brands that are specialists and leaders in their respective sectors but also work closely together, was a compelling consideration and a key reason we chose to partner with Airedale for the next part of our journey.”
This acquisition brings together two long-established and well respected companies in the hospitality sector and adds refrigeration, cellar cooling, remote monitoring and air-conditioning capabilities to Airedale’s service offering.
Bywell added: “This is an exciting development for all our combined staff, customers and suppliers and I would like to take the opportunity to welcome all of the Flowrite team into the group.
“The existing management will remain in place under Tod, and will continue to develop their day to day operations, grow the staff and their customer base which has been key to their ongoing success as proven by their recent industry award. I am also pleased to welcome Tod onto the group board and I, and the other members of our senior team look forward to helping them realise their ambitious plans.”
He continued: “We have the capacity and appetite to make further investments both in our current services and operations, as well as seeking complementary businesses as potential acquisitions. We intend to continue to deploy capital where we believe it aligns to our plan and long term objectives.”
“This is a fascinating industry and an interesting time. Commercial catering equipment is a big market, with traditional structures. I believe it will undergo successive changes in the near future and the boundaries and labels that exist in the market today will move, blur or disappear altogether.
“Changing customer expectations will drive a requirement to invest and improve efficiency, which in turn will encourage consolidation and collaboration. In a relatively short period, the landscape in our sector will look dramatically different. We want our teams, our clients and partners, both current and future to be positioned at the forefront of this change, driving it and embracing it.”