A SUFFOLK-based facilities provider has served up a major New Year expansion with the acquisition of an £80million-turnover catering firm.

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As a result of the deal, Bury St Edmunds-based Servest, a major employer with 13,500 staff providing a range of services UK-wide, becomes a £200m business.

7 Day Catering, the Staffordshire-based firm it has acquired for an undisclosed sum, employs 2,500 people,

Servest’s management believes the deal is a huge growth opportunity which will enable it to become one of the top five players in the sector.

Servest, which wants to diversify and grow, said it had identified the catering company as an “excellent” strategic fit with its existing business.

The business offers catering, cleaning, consumables, landscaping, maintenance, pest control, specialist services, security, washroom services and waste management to businesses in the retail, leisure, public, commercial, transport and logistics sectors.

Servest is 73% owned by Servest South Africa, with the remainder belonging to its UK management team.

Robert Legge, group chief executive for the UK and Europe operation, welcomed the deal.

“This acquisition is part of our ambitious growth strategy which we aim to achieve through a mix of organic growth and further purchases,” he said.

More and more customers were seeking the cost and time-saving benefits of having one point of contact for all their facilities service, from cleaning and catering to security and pest control, he explained.

“This acquisition provides diversification into yet another service area – it offers long term contracts and a huge growth opportunity. I look forward to working with the 7 Day Catering team on integrating the business into Servest and realising our combined potential.”

7 Day Catering, founded by chairman Mark Boothright in 1990, provides services to more than 170 clients in business, industry and education.

Its managing director, Henry Watts, said: “This is great news for our business. Working with Servest we can now bring our quality and service to customers as part of an integrated facilities offer.”

Mr Watts and the senior management at 7 Day Catering will remain in place to drive the strategy and growth of the business and will retain equity in the business.

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