Acquisition extends service to caterers

Casper Limited has increased group turnover to pound;130m, with the addition of the WK Thomas trio of companies to its portfolio of delivered non food wholesalers to the foodservice sector.

Casper already owned King UK and Industrial Supplies (Peterborough), and at the beginning of the month bought the family owned WK Thomas companies, which have a turnover of pound;26m.

WK Thomas runs a distribution fleet from Chessington in Surrey, and has a production facility at Selsey in West Sussex. It distributes packaging, disposables and other non food products to the airline and air catering customers and the Horeca (hotels, restaurants and caterers) sectors in and around London, offering same day or next day delivery to the majority of its customers.

Christoph Sander, chief executive of Casper, said: “I have known the Thomas family for some time and have admired WK Thomas for its long history, tradition and unmatched reputation for providing exceptional service to its customers.”

Michael Thomas and Antony Thomas will continue with the business to ensure a smooth transition to Casper ownership, and Peter Crown, who has been a director for 20 years, has been appointed managing director.

Sander said there were synergies with the rest of the group in terms of purchasing and providing WK Thomas with a broader range of products, but like the other two companies within Casper it would continue to operate as a standalone company.

Sander also confirmed the reorganisation of King UK, which began shortly after it was taken over early last year, will be completed by the end of January.

It has involved closure of five of the 11 depots, however King will continue to have UK coverage and achieved a marginal sales increase despite the closure programme.

Sander said: “It has been completed with minimal disruption and we have not lost a single customer. We are now in a position to go forward and grow the business in 2008.”

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