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Equistone invests in UK contract catering group CH&CO

18 Apr. 2019

Equistone Partners Europe Limited (“Equistone”), one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, today announces its invesment in CH&CO, a leading UK contract catering group, originally backed by MML Capital Partners in 2015. CH&CO will continue to be led by current CEO Bill Toner and its management team, who together retain a material shareholding in the company. The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed and completion remains subject to clearance from the relevant competition authorities.

Headquartered in Reading, CH&CO offers premium contract and hospitality catering services throughout the UK to a broad range of sectors including workplaces, venues, tourist destinations, independent and State schools, further education, healthcare and events. The company has a prestigious client portfolio including some of the UK’s leading companies, charities and organisations and has held a Royal Warrant for the provision of catering services to HM Queen since 2013. CH&CO generated revenues of £286 million in 2018, having grown both organically and acquisitively since CEO Bill Toner joined the company in 2011.

Ed Baker, who will be joining the board of the business on behalf of Equistone Partners Europe alongside Dominic Geer, commented: “CH&CO is a company with a highly respected brand, a diverse range of customers and a management team with a proven track record of delivering growth. The company manages catering facilities at some of the UK’s best-known visitor attractions, and with many employers increasingly seeing the great potential that offering food has as an employee benefit, and demand for nutritionally balanced school lunches continuing to grow, CH&CO is well-positioned to continue its impressive expansion. We look forward to working with Bill and the team to support further add-on acquisitions and to explore cross-selling opportunities within the existing business.”

Bill Toner, CEO of CH&CO, said: “We’re pleased to be partnering with Equistone in delivering the next phase of the company’s development. Their investment will provide us with the financial support to fund further strategic mergers and acquisitions of the type that we have successfully used to date to grow the business and to diversify our customer base. Going forward, our focus will remain first and foremost on continuing to deliver high-quality catering, hospitality and events management services to our customers and providing excellent career opportunities to our team members.”

Dominic Geer, Ed Baker and Tristan Manuel led the investment on behalf of Equistone. Equistone was advised on the transaction by Houlihan Lokey.

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