Elior UK is hunting for more potential acquisitions after the purchase of two smaller rivals resulted in a double-digit boost to both turnover and profit in 2017.
The group’s turnover reached £354m for the year to 30 September 2017, up 19.9% on the same period a year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House.
Pre-tax profit also rose strongly, up to just under £8m in 2017, from £4.5m the year before.
The company said its purchase of education and care and business and industry (B&I) caterer Waterfall Group in July 2016, as well as its acquisition of education caterer Edwards & Blake, both contributed to the increases.
Elior UK retained business worth £38.3m in 2017, up from £21.6m in 2016. That equated to 10.8% of the group’s 2017 turnover (7.3% in 2016).
It also won new business contracts worth £79.4m per year, up from £40.3m in 2016.
However, average sales per outlet on a full-year basis – another key performance measure for the company – slipped by 0.7% in 2017 (compared to an increase of 2.1% in 2016).
In a review of the business, chief financial officer Eleni Savva said: “The group continues to focus on growing our core contract catering business in the UK.
“In particular we find that our success and investment in developing our catering proposition attracts client wins through competitive tenders and we have some attractive competitive pipelines to worth with.
“We continue to review the market on a selective basis for potential acquisitions, though only if we are confident it will enhance our client and customer proposition.”
Elior UK offers catering services across a huge range of sectors, from business, industry and commercial clients to care and residential homes through its Caterplus arm, the education sector, defence, stadia, and the City via Lexington Catering (which Elior acquired in 2014).
Lexington’s turnover rose 5.7% to £40.7m in 2017, while pre-tax profit was flat at £2.5m.
A spokesperson for Lexington said: “Lexington has continued to grow and develop as the specialist London brand of Elior with the signing of a number of new significant clients including Virgin Active Gyms and has enjoyed strong retention through a continued focus on fabulous food and service.”