Glasgow’s Cordia poised to grab more private contracts

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CORDIA, the catering, cleaning and security company spun out from Glasgow city council, is unveiling plans to capture a bigger slice of work from the private sector after posting a 15 per cent rise in 
operating profits.

The business, which is owned by the council, already provides catering at Glasgow Caledonian University and the Glasgow Warriors’ newly-opened Scotstoun rugby stadium, a contract expected to be worth about £400,000 a year.

Catering is also being 
provided at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the National Indoor Sports Arena, the east end complex collectively known as the Emirates Arena.

Andy Clark, finance director at Cordia, said: “While the largest proportion of our work will always be from the public sector, it is part of our business plan to extend our reach into the private sector.

“That now accounts for 
14 per cent of our turnover, much of that in contract catering via our subsidiary, Encore Hospitality Services.

“Because of the opening of new venues, we are seeing growth there.”

The group, which was launched in 2008, made an operating profit of £3.9 million in the year to 31 March after carrying out catering, cleaning, home care and security.

But when non-cash pension charges and a £1m restructuring were taken into account, profits dropped to £3.2m from £10m. Turnover dipped slightly to £142.3m.

Clark said that he was “pleased” with the performance given the ongoing cutbacks in the public sector.

The profit meant that the company comfortably covered its £2.3m payment to Glasgow city council, which will rise 
to £3.3m during the current 
financial year.

The group – which employs more than 7,000 full and part-time staff – brought in contracts worth a total of £3.5m during the past 12 months and is set to meet its target of £5m in its current financial year.

Most of the growth is coming from the EquipU division’s new line of installing stairlifts on behalf of various local authorities, and the transfer of Glasgow council’s translation services – now known as Cordia Linguistics – last year.

The group delivers school meals to more than 72,000 children and drops off food 
to more than 600 elderly ­residents.

In April, Cordia retained the catering contract at the city’s Tall Ship tourist attraction in a deal worth £1.5m over five years. The division also oversees catering at some of the city’s other top tourist attractions, including Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.