Catering equipment distributors have reacted to last night’s news that the Ali Group will be closing the Dawson business in the UK.
The brands the Barnsley-based firm managed, Comenda, Lainox, Mareno, Rosinox and Rendisk, will now be supplied through other channels, with Comenda to be exclusively available in the UK through HTG Trading Ltd under its business division Hubbard Systems and Lainox combi ovens heading into the Falcon Foodservice Equipment portfolio.
Rosinox, Mareno and Rendisk will continue to support the UK market from factory direct sales and business development activity. All Dawson engineers will transfer to the Ali Group business Serviceline.
One Dawson customer, Vision Commercial Kitchens, understood this move. MD Jack Sharkey commented: “It’s not surprising that the Ali Group has taken this decision considering the number of business with administration functions it already has in the UK. From a commercial perspective this makes perfect sense.
“Given the Ali Group’s reputation, the individual brands’ reputation, and their global presence and size, I do believe they will fully support companies like us with the brands and product already out in the field.”
He believes: “The manufacturer’s route to the UK market is changing, and will continue to change. Given that the UK is part of a globally economy and market and accesses product from all over the world, it does not make sense for major manufactures to have heavy overhead administration costs in local markets, providing they can support the brand in the local market with effective spares, service and technical/sales support.”
Gateshead-based GastroNorth numbers Comenda warewashers among the brands it supplies. Director Tim Whitfield said: “Naturally it’s disappointing to see a long-established company in Dawson disappearing from our landscape and we always believed its USP was its ability to support complete schemes with the multiple brands it represented, a unity which became fragmented over the last 3 years. So the closure of Dawson comes as no real surprise.
“In terms of the future of the brands, the proposed route to market for Comenda and Lainox makes sense and should ensure future business is well supported, but the uncertainty over the Mareno and Rosinox brands is more of an immediate concern. Whilst we presently support those brands we, like many other distributors, will be cautious in our approach to product specification until their future UK sales strategy has been clearly defined.”
Blackpool-headquartered CKS has had an excellent and longstanding working relationship with Dawson. Directors Dawn Cheetham and Diane Moden sympathised: “We are truly sorry to hear this news. Over the last 15 years we have worked together to take all brands from strength to strength, but particularly Lainox, Comenda, and Mareno equipment. This has only been possible because of the first rate support we have received from Dawson UK starting with Brian Robinson, continuing with Robin McKnight, Mike Butt and latterly Nick Falco.
“From our point of view Dawson was one of the best suppliers in the industry. Our thoughts are with those members of staff who find themselves facing challenging times in the future either without jobs or re-located and if still working within this industry trust they maintain the ethos of care and consideration for all their customers.”
They added: “We hope the Ali Group actively supports all the changes in brand distributorship, making this transition as smooth as possible for distributors and clients alike.”
Dawson’s next set of accounts for the year to 31 August 2016 are due at the end of the May, according to Companies House.
The last publicly available set of figures show that it made a loss of £384,899 on sales of almost £7m for the 12 months to 31 August 2015.
The year before that it made a profit of £144,459 on sales of £9m.