School meals provider The Contract Dining Company acquired by Alliance in Partnership

(l-r) AiP directors Sally Tyson, Angela Austin and MD Paul Rogers
05/12/2017 - 08:34
Catering firm Alliance in Partnership (AiP) has expanded its reach into the south east of England with the acquisition of fellow school meals provider, The Contract Dining Company.

Based in Headcorn, near Maidstone, The Contract Dining Company was established in 2004 and provides catering services to 53 schools in Kent, delivering more than 8,000 meals a day.

The business, whose ethos is to use locally sourced ingredients whenever possible in freshly prepared and healthy menus, turned over £4m last year.

Its management team, including founder Anne Winn, will remain with the company following the deal.

The merger will see AiP increase its school meals provision which stands at around 75,000 meals a day in primary and secondary schools and colleges nationwide.   

Paul Rogers, managing director of AiP, said: “The addition of The Contract Dining Company to the AiP family will enable us to further strengthen our presence in the South East, giving us a strong foothold in Kent following our recent contract wins in London. 

“There’s also a close cultural fit between the two businesses as we both share a focus on providing fresh, healthy and nutritious meals for schools.

“The combined group will now serve over 400 schools and colleges throughout the UK and will have combined sales of £33m, making us a major player in the education catering sector.”

The acquisition follows a multi-million pound investment made by Leeds and London-based private equity house Key Capital Partners (KCP) in 2014, which also saw KCP partner Owen Trotter join the AiP board. 

KCP has played an active role in driving AiP’s growth strategy over the last three years.

Trotter said: “This latest development marks another key milestone in AiP’s continued expansion. 

“The business has already seen revenue grow by 120% since 2014 as its commitment to the provision of quality, freshly-cooked and nutritious meals for the education sector has chimed with public concerns. 

“As a firmly established leader in the field, the company is well-positioned to extend its offering across the UK.”

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