Sodexo has helped itself to an early Christmas present by snapping up the Alliance in Partnership (AiP) group of companies, a specialist education caterer which includes The Contract Dining Company and Class Catering Services.
AiP was formed 20 years ago but has grown considerably over the last few years through organic growth and acquisitions. The deal will give Sodexo access to catering contracts incorporating more than 400 schools.
The company has stayed true to its ethos of supplying high quality, locally sourced and seasonal meals at competitive prices, which Sodexo claims mirrors its own ethos.
AiP will continue to operate independently with managing director Paul Rogers remaining in charge of the business and its 1,500 employees from its Birmingham head office.
By acquiring AiP, Sodexo said it will combine resources and expertise to deliver innovative food concepts which help improve health and learning outcomes in the education sector.
Paul Rogers will join a newly formed operational board which, with Sodexo’s managing director for government schools, Matt Garner, will oversee the development of Sodexo and AiP’s business in this sector.
The new board will include executives from both Sodexo and AiP and will report into Sodexo’s CEO for schools and universities, Andrew Wilkinson.
Mr Wilkinson said: “The AiP impressive client base of 418 schools will strongly complement our existing schools’ business. The education sector presents a huge growth area for us and we have been looking to expand our presence in it for some time. Whilst we have been growing our own business organically, acquiring a company already well-established in the sector enables us to develop our scale, infrastructure and visibility.”
AiP’s Mr Rogers added: “We share a similar ethos and we have a common heritage which is to serve healthy, nutritious food in a fun and welcoming environment. By joining forces with Sodexo, we believe that we can take our business to the next level and give the company and our people significant opportunities to grow.”
The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.