WSH sales soar 15% to £535m

WSH sales soar 15% to £535m

Westbury Street Holdings (WSH), the UK's largest independent foodservice operator, once again saw annual turnover grow by double digits, rising 14.74% to £534.8m (2012: £466.1m).

This is the 13th consecutive year that growth has been in double figures and marks the first time that annual turnover at the company has exceeded half a billion pounds.

The company, which counts BaxterStorey, Caterlink, Holroyd Howe, Benugo and Portico among its portfolio of trading brands, was formed in 2000.

WSH and its subsidiaries undertook a refinance and restructure last November, according to documents filed at Companies House relating to the 52 weeks to 27 December 2013, resulting in Boxford Investments Ltd, a newly incorporated company, being made the ultimate parent business.

Three new subsidiary firms were incorporated at the same time to facilitate the refinancing, including WSH International Investments Ltd and WSH UK & Ireland. A third business, WSH Hospitality Ltd, acquired 100% of the issued ordinary shares of Westbury Street Holdings Ltd.

Profit for the period was £1.1m (2012: £1.6m) and included £15.1m of exceptional costs related to the refinancing.

BaxterStorey, the company's business & industry arm and biggest division, put in a strong performance, reporting a 10% increase in sales to £303.4m, up from £275.8m the previous year, for its operations in England and Wales. Operating profit stood saw a rise of 13.4% to £20.1m.

BaxterStorey Scotland grew by 19.5% to £15.7m (2012: £13.1m), however operating profit fell to 41.3% to £0.4m, from £0.7m in 2012.

State education caterer Caterlink reported an increase in annual turnover of 19.8% to £63.5m, up from £52.9m in 2012, and pre-tax profit grew 25.6% to £3.7m (2012: £2.9m).

Meanwhile Holroyd Howe, its counterpart in the independent education sector, saw sales surge to £38.7m, up 27.3% from £30.4m the year before, and pre-tax profit was up 63.6% at £2.1m from £1.3m in 2012.

Benugo saw a 24% leap in turnover to £70.1m from £56.5m the previous year, while operating profit for the period reached £4.9m, up 46.3% from £3.3m.

Commenting on the BaxterStorey figures, co-chief executive Noel Mahony said: "These results are a true reflection of how we continuously strive to improve the quality of service to our customers and clients alike.

"We place great emphasis on investment in training and supporting our people who are fundamental to the success of our business. This combined with our philosophy to source local, fresh, seasonal food, presented creatively on site has resulted in like for like sales growth of 3.5% and higher customer participation in our restaurants and cafes".

John Bennett, co-chief executive at BaxterStorey, added: "Our key competitor remains the high street and we continue to work even harder to deliver innovation and improved service delivery in our customers' business.

"We are committed to our team through our chef, barista and management academies, as well as recruiting over 40 young people to our graduate programme and offering extensive training for all our staff".

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