HCM Group (Host Catermasters Group) and event caterers CH&Co have merged to form a new major player in the UK catering sector, with a combined turnover approaching £200m.
The new business will be called the CH&Co Group, comprising a 4,500-strong team delivering services to 400 operations across the UK and Ireland.
HCM’s CEO, Bill Toner, will assume the title of group CEO, while co-founders of CH&Co (parent company of event brands including Ampersand, Chester Boyd and ITA) Robyn Jones and Tim Jones, will continue in their roles as founder and chairman respectively.
Stuart Lawson, CH&Co’s current group chief executive, will leave the business.
Toner said the merger enables the companies to combine their assets and talent and boost their financial muscle.
“We are so much stronger together but although we’re now a bigger company, we’re still made up of a number of smaller, well-established, high calibre brands focussed on providing excellent food and service, and with a reputation for looking after clients and customers,” he said.
”Combined, we have an even stronger management team with the credentials to expertly manage business for clients in all these sectors and we now have the scale to successfully mobilise the largest group contracts and provide a real alternative to the big companies,” added Toner.
Both CH&Co and HCM report a combined £42.8m achieved in new sales and retention since January this year, including £19.6m in new deals and £23.2m in retained contracts.
Tim Jones added: “We have a very experienced management team across our new company with in-depth experience of mergers and acquisitions, and post-deal integration. We’re very confident that this merger will go smoothly and both companies will become even stronger as one entity.”
The new CH&Co Group is predominantly management owned but the deal has been funded partly by MML Capital. Richard Mayers and Ian Wallis from MML will also join the CH&Co Group board as non-executive directors and provide counsel on growth strategy. Other non-executive members of the board include Elizabeth McMeikan and Simon Hodson.