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Baxter returns to take on contracting giants

William Baxter, former executive chairman of contract caterer Baxter & Platts, has teamed up with his former managing director, Mike Smith, to create a new company, BaxterSmith.

The company, based in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, began trading yesterday (17 May), three years and a day after Baxter sold his previous company to Granada for a rumoured £15m.

Baxter said the proposed merger between two of the UK’s largest contractors, Compass and Granada, announced this week, would make it easier for his new firm to win business. “It will add weight to the smaller players,” he said.

“There’s a huge opportunity at the moment,” he added. “The large companies have had it their own way for a long time. With their acquisitions of the smaller companies, there’s been a polarisation of the industry.”

Baxter said he had respected his agreement with Granada and had not been working away behind the scenes to win contracts before his three-year non-competition clause expired. Nor would he be setting out to poach former Baxter & Platts clients. “Granada has been fair to us, and we wanted to be fair to them,” he said.

But BaxterSmith will be targeting corporate head-office business in South-east England, the same market that Baxter & Platts specialised in. “That’s our area of expertise and that’s the area we want to concentrate in,” he said.

by David Shrimpton

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