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Alliance in Partnership has acquired Kent-based school catering specialist, The Contract Dining Company

Alliance in Partnership (AiP), one of the UK’s leading school meals specialists, is continuing to grow with our support, having recently made its second acquisition.

Following KCP’s multi-million pound investment in the business back in 2014, AiP went on to acquire complementary business Class Catering later that year. Based in the West Midlands, the business serves over 60 schools.

Last month (November 2017), AiP acquired another education catering specialist, The Contract Dining Company based in Kent, in a deal which will help it to expand its reach in the South East.

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. With a 231 strong team, the business has grown to a turnover of £4m based on its ethos of only using high quality ingredients, locally sourced wherever possible, in its freshly prepared, healthy menus. The Contract Dining Company management team, including founder Anne Winn, will remain with the company following the deal.

AiP has put in a strong performance over the last three years since KCP partner Owen Trotter joined the AiP board, with the private equity house playing an active role in driving the company’s growth strategy. Founded 19 years ago, AiP is now one of the largest education catering specialists in the UK, providing over 75,000 meals a day in primary and secondary schools and colleges nationwide. AiP has already won over £2m worth of contracts in the last two months, well ahead of budget, and the revenue of the combined group has risen by 150% since the date of the KCP investment.

Mr Trotter comments: “This latest development marks another key milestone in AiP’s continued expansion. The business has already seen phenomenal growth 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.”

Paul Rogers, managing director of AiP, explains: “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.”

Photo shows (L to R): AiP directors Sally Tyson, Angela Austin and managing director Paul Rogers

Posted on Dec 05, 2017