Light equipment and housewares supplier Eddingtons has bolstered its commercial foodservice division by acquiring selected assets of Gilberts Food Equipment.
The agreement sees Eddingtons gain control of stock and intellectual property relating to Gilbert’s foodservice business, which has been supplying professional equipment to chefs for more than 60 years.
Gilberts managing director, Richard Gilbert, has moved across to Eddingtons as part of the agreement and will head up an expanded foodservice arm at the Hungerford, Berkshire-based outfit.
Mr Gilbert told FEJ that the merger would benefit both parties by providing enhanced cross-selling opportunities and greater customer reach.
“Eddingtons is very strong in retail and while it is equally present in foodservice it is still a relatively small player, whereas Gilbert’s is, of course, a much larger player in this segment. There is some crossover in customer base, but this opportunity allows us to sell the Gilbert’s portfolio into Eddingtons customers and reach Gilbert’s customers with products from Eddingtons offering. It is a really good fit. Eddingtons operates at the top end of the market and deals with quality brands, which means it supplies products that never fall foul of poor manufacturing or quality issues.”
Mr Gilbert said he is excited about the new challenge and structure, adding that his immediate focus is on unifying the operations.
“There is now a certain amount of transition that needs to take place, not least because there is the task of smoothly transferring more than 1,000 SKUs across from Gilberts,” he explained.
Gilberts was founded in the 1950s when the company began to import high quality catering equipment and cookware from across the globe to meet the needs of both foodservice customers and consumers throughout the UK.
The company also has a retail side to its operation, but Mr Gilbert confirmed this was not included in the transaction because it overlaps with Eddingtons’ existing strengths in this area. Instead, that business will be wound down over the coming weeks. He said that regrettably this has led to the redundancy of some members of staff.
The acquisition is the second that Eddingtons has made in the space of two years. In 2015 it brought selected assets, including stock and IP, from Epicurean Europe. Epicurean boasts a strong portfolio of high quality product categories including barware, children’s, kitchenware and drinkware ranges, which are sold across many trade channels in the UK.
Gilberts is due to participate at next month’s CESA Light Equipment and Tableware Forum, where it has been a prominent attendee for many years. It will exhibit under the Eddingtons name to reflect the new ownership.