BREAKING NEWS: Unitech Group acquires Court Catering

Nick Howe crop
Nick Howe will continue as Court MD following Unitech's buyout.

London-based distributor Court Catering Equipment Limited has been acquired by the Unitech Group.

Nick Howe, MD of Court Catering, expressed his delight at the transaction which finds Court Catering joining a major active investor in the UK commercial catering sector.

Howe will continue as MD, with Andy Fitzwater, currently contracts/design director being immediately promoted to deputy MD.

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Nick Imlah and Mark Street of Unitech will join the board of Court Catering to help Howe, Fitzwater and the team to continue growing the business from strength to strength.

Unitech CEO Imlah and Court’s Howe say they are both excited at what the future holds and the strength that Court Catering Equipment and its experienced and dedicated staff will add to the Unitech Group.

Alongside the kitchen houses already under the Unitech umbrella, ScoMac Catering Equipment in Scotland, and Francis Commercial Kitchen Services Limited in the Midlands, Court Catering will be a major part of one of the largest networks of solutions providers to the hospitality industry in the UK, with a bank of experience comprising 30 service engineers, 10 commercial kitchen design engineers, 13 project managers and 16 regional sales managers.

Court Catering was first started in the also very hot summer of 1976 by John Howe, the present MD Nick Howe’s father.

John had a background in manufacturing catering equipment and moved into the supply and service of equipment. With a single service engineer, the company focused on public house work, then progressed into restaurants and hotels, education and stadia.

Nick Howe, by his own admission, fell into working for his father by default and bought the company himself. Despite the pressures of now owning Court Catering, he continued with his international rowing career, representing Great Britain for a further 11 years.

From three employees in 1976, Court Catering currently has 30 employees.

In 2003, Howe took great pride in presenting his father with the CEDA Industry Personality award, which he himself won this year, the first time father and son have both been presented with the accolade.

He has a wealth of experience in the catering industry, having been a member of CEDA for 40 years and chair of CEDA for 2 years from 1998-2000. Court Catering has also won several accolades over the years, including the CEDA Grand Prix overall award three times – in 2017 for Le Cordon Bleu Paris.

The Unitech Group itself has its origins as a manufacturer of stainless steel equipment primarily for the food production industry. It has grown into a diverse, £55m pa turnover collection of companies with interests in food production, the design, production, supply and installation of commercial catering equipment, property holdings and supply of processing equipment to the automotive industry.

With Court Catering joining the Unitech Group, the turnover of the commercial catering section will be in excess of £35m.

With the planned expansion of Court Catering Equipment Limited, Unitech will be looking to recruit sales and project management staff.

It will also utilise the services of another of its owned distributors, Crosbys Catering Supplies, to follow on behind after successfully completed catering design project work, to offer light equipment, crockery, cutlery and glassware on a nationwide basis.

Unitech group finance director Mark Street expressed his thanks to the behind the scenes team who were pivotal in helping to get this deal completed, Haines Watts Business Law LLP, Haines Watts (SEM) Limited, and the team at NatWest Commercial Banking.

Tags : acquisitionbuyoutcourt cateringdealerdistributortakeoverunitech
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls


  1. Wow ! No one saw this coming ! Lets wish Nick Howe & the Court Catering team all the very best for the future. Consolidation of dealers has been muted may times over the years, this now giving Unitech Industries another great string to thier bow.

  2. Congratulations to both Nick H and Nick I. A great company, which will continue to go from strength to strength. Congratulations to Andy Fitz too, good choice for deputy MD.

  3. Nick is one of the true Gentleman of our industry as was his father Congratulations to Court Catering

  4. Its a shame Unitech dont pay back deposits on projects cancelled due to their inefficiency. You would think that £1840 was nothing to Unitech but it just shows you their business ethos.

    1. Tim, you paid a deposit for a bespoke heated unit and then cancelled the unit after we had incurred significant costs. As a gesture of goodwill Unitech Engineering offered you a full credit to spend against future orders; and our offer still stands.

      Mandy Imlah – Group Commercial Director Unitech Industries

      1. Im sorry Mandy but thats not what i was offered. I was offered £1000 credit against the £1840 i paid. The order was cancelled by the client, The National Trust because it still hadnt been started 5 weeks after you recieved the order. Your significant costs seem to derive from Design work which at no time was mentioned before or during this order.

  5. Sorry dirty washing seems to be hanging on the line here.
    Better for all parties to pick up the phone or have a coffee and sort it out.
    Bit like facebook friends who tell all about their husbands/ wife’s faults after a divorce.
    I’m not really interested.

    1. Im pretty sure you wouldnt be saying that Derek if you had been robbed of £1840. Sadly plenty of phone calls and emails but no solution. I certainly wouldnt be commenting if i had been treated with basic common decency.

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