SME Loans

Buy-out at catering equipment firm is backed by SME Loan

A West Yorkshire catering equipment business has undergone a management buy-out backed by an SME Loan from Mercia as it prepares for the next stage of its growth.

Denby Catering Equipment of Wakefield was founded more than 20 years ago by managing director George Hartley, who is now retiring and handing over the reins to former accounts and service manager Richard Garfitt. Richard, aged 29, joined the business ten years ago in an office administration and purchase ledger role and has since become involved in all aspects of its operations.

The £1.8m turnover business comprises a team of experienced kitchen designers and project managers who design, supply and instal catering equipment for commercial kitchens, from one-off replacements to total re-fits. Denby has established a strong track record working with local authorities across the UK to supply commercial kitchens in schools, colleges, universities and hospitals, as well as in care homes and sheltered housing accommodation. Its clients include Derbyshire County Council and Wakefield Council.

Founder and former managing director George Hartley said: “Having spent the last 40 years in the catering sector, I have passed on as much knowledge as I can to Richard who joined us early in his career with the appetite and potential to learn, and has demonstrated he has the versatility to flourish in a company like this. He knows the business inside-out and his skills now cover our entire process – I am happy to be leaving Denby in his capable hands.”

Mike Rogers of Mercia added: “Denby has built a compelling reputation in the industry and a solid customer base in the region. In recent years Richard has played an integral role in its success. We are pleased to be able support this deal which will give him full control of the business as it enters the next stage of its growth journey.”

Calvin Dexter from Calvin Dexter Financial Solutions in Leeds, who acted as fundraising adviser for the MBO, said: “This is an inspiring story, seeing a nineteen-year-old rise through the ranks to ultimately become the owner of the company is a real achievement. I am delighted to have been able to play a part in helping Richard to purchase, and George to exit, this longstanding and successful business. I wish both Richard and George well and look forward to watching the business go from strength to strength under Richard’s stewardship.”

Legal advice to Garfitt-Robinson Holdings Limited was provided by Nicola Cooper of Clarion; with financial advice from Mark Spencer of Beaumonts Chartered Accountants in Wakefield.

Mark Spencer comments: “Having worked with George throughout the Denby journey, I have seen George build a really successful business on the back of excellent personal service and customer relationships. His knowledge and experience has been passed over to Richard who has now taken over the reins and his enthusiasm, drive and ambition to grow the business will ensure continued success.”