Entier, Scotland’s largest privately-owned catering business, is looking to grab a bigger slice of international markets after agreeing a seven-figure funding deal.
The Aberdeenshire-based company, which serves thousands of meals each day to offshore workers, plans to expand its overseas operations, building on existing work at 38 remote locations in 23 countries.
We are most impressed by the way in which Peter Bruce and his team have differentiated themselves from their rivalsMike Sibson
The group already has a presence in Australia, Canada, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US, and last year picked up a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for international trade.
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The Business Growth Fund (BGF) is providing almost £6.5 million to fund the expansion programme.
Chief executive Peter Bruce founded Entier in 2008 after running similar services for catering giant Compass, along with Aberdeen businessman Mike Reilly – the former proprietor of the Olive Tree Restaurant in Aberdeen’s west end.
Bruce said: “I’ve said in the past that I want to grow Entier into a £100m company and, with the backing of BGF, I believe we could do far better than that.
“While the price of oil and gas remains low, offshore operators are keeping a keen eye on cost, which presents opportunities for companies like Entier because we are big enough to deliver large contracts, but small enough to work with clients to offer bespoke services on their offshore installations.”
He added: “An army marches on its stomach, and we focus on delivering high quality, healthy and nutritious food to offshore workers, to play our part in improving productivity and reducing costs.”
Revenues at the company grew by 13 per cent to £44.9m in the year to 30 September, despite the general industry malaise, with pre-tax profits surging 72 per cent to £1.5m.
More than 4,500 people on oil and gas rigs and other remote installations around the world are served meals each day by Entier’s 760 staff, along with receiving additional services such as cleaning and laundry. Major clients in the offshore sector include Apache, EnQuest, Rowan Drilling and Technip.
Onshore, the firm has developed the Fresh chain of cafes situated across Aberdeen as well as providing catering and hospitality services in 20 client offices including Stork, Helix and Archer. It also recently acquired Wilde Thyme, the Perthshire-based catering firm which runs the restaurants at Glamis Castle in Angus and the Glenturret Distillery in Perthshire.
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Mike Sibson, head of BGF’s Aberdeen office, said: “We are most impressed by the way in which Peter Bruce and his team have differentiated themselves from their rivals. They provide a bespoke service and build strong relationships with their clients, and the customer feedback is outstanding.”
Simmons & Company International represented the shareholders of Entier. Nick Dalgarno, managing director, said: “Despite the backdrop of challenging market conditions, Entier has continued to demonstrate strong growth and increase their market share. This transaction represents an excellent deal for BGF and the Entier shareholders, setting the company up for significant growth.”