Belfast Telegraph

Catering equipment hire firm Lowe Rental buys English rival

Lowe Rental has completed a deal to buy PKL in Cheltenham
Lowe Rental has completed a deal to buy PKL in Cheltenham
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

A Northern Ireland catering equipment company has completed the purchase of a rival in England, creating a group with revenues of over £50m.

Lowe Rental Group, which is based in Lisburn's Knockmore Industrial Estate, said the deal - for an undisclosed sum - had strengthened its position in the market.

It's now the outright owner of PKL Group in Cheltenham.

The deal adds 100 staff from PKL to Lowe Rental Group's headcount.

PKL supplies infrastructure for modular kitchens and food kiosks, and also hires out commercial catering equipment. It has supplied equipment to major events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

Lowe Rental is a major global player in refrigeration and renting out catering equipment to food exhibitions, sporting events and retailers around the world.

A spokeswoman said the combined group would have 2019/20 sales of over £50m and would operate from 11 locations across the world.

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In its most recent results for the year ending August 2018, Lowe Rental had increased turnover from £14m to £15.8m, and more than doubled pre-tax profits from around £1.8m to £2.8m.

Lowe chief executive Rodney Lowry said: "We are delighted to welcome PKL into our high-performing group.

"With innovation and a customer-focused approach at our core, PKL is a perfect fit.

"There are excellent synergies between the companies such as our approach to customer service, our reputation as trusted brands, the quality of products we supply and the high calibre of the management teams.

"Both companies are delighted to have all formalities of the deal completed, clearing the way for our staff to start the business of building a collective powerhouse in the rental of refrigeration, catering equipment and temporary kitchens across the world." PKL chief executive Lee Vines said its acquisition by Lowe was "a very exciting and welcome step forward for all here at PKL".

"Having the backing of such a large, globally renowned company unlocks new significant growth potential in markets and geographies that historically would have been out of reach.

"The Lowe team also brings a wealth of refrigeration knowledge to the table and we are very enthusiastic about the prospect of providing a broader and highly compelling offering in the market."

Lowe Rental, founded in 1977, has around 130 employees around the world, and premises in the US, Germany, Singapore, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Specialist private equity firm Perwyn announced the acquisition of Lowe Rental last year after backing a management buyout led by Mr Lowry.

Perwyn completed the deal after Lowe's former funder MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland realised an investment it had made in 2014. In April this year the company appeared in The Sunday Times's Profit Track 100 as one of the top 50 fastest growing businesses in the UK.

Belfast Telegraph