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One of Airedale’s most recent projects was for Gilpin Spice Restaurant in the Lake District.

Bradford-based Airedale Catering Equipment Group can count on the collective revenue of its subsidiaries, comprising Airedale Catering Equipment, South Coast Catering, Airedale Technical Services, Caterform Stainless Steel Fabrications and the Catering Design House, to ensure that it is far and away the highest earning kitchen design house in the country.

Although its 2018 results have not yet been published, it’s a safe bet that the £40.7m turnover generated in the 12 months to 31 December 2017 will not be matched or exceeded. The 2017 figure did represent a slight (3%) decrease in turnover from £42m in 2016, but this was offset with a 5% gross profit margin increase from £23.6m to £24.7m. Another mitigating factor was rising gross profit itself, from £9.9m to £10.1m, a 2% uptick.

The service and manufacturing divisions performed in line with expectation and with good improvements on previous years, while headcount grew from 258 employees in 2016 to 280 as of 2017.

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However, the EBITDA level for that year was slightly lower as a result of timings within the projects business. And as Airedale took some exceptional/one-off costs into the group profit and loss during that period, both the profit before taxation (PBT) and operating profits were reduced. PBT was down by 99% from £1.6m to £16,000, while operating profit was also cut by 99% from £1.8m to £131,000.

The directors noted in the annual report: “Following a difficult year in certain markets, most notably facilities management and casual dining, the directors consider that the results for the year and financial position at the end of the year are satisfactory.” At that point they also pointed out that the group had a strong orderbook and pipeline for 2018.

Bringing the picture up to date, an Airedale spokesperson analysed: “Airedale continues to prosper with a growing number of national accounts who all benefit from our ability to deliver projects and subsequently to respond promptly to any service/maintenance requirements anywhere and at any time.

“Our acquisition of South Coast Catering UK (in 2014) and subsequent integration and development of our service and maintenance offering continues to be a cornerstone to the success of the group, with clients benefiting from some of the highest first time fix rates in the industry.”

The spokesperson continued: “In addition, the group’s ability to deliver every aspect of any commercial catering facility utilising our own divisions, including manufacturing and building services, affords clients with a more efficient and transparent service.

“The board and senior management at Airedale are confident in further strengthening our position in the years to come.”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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