Commercial kitchens specialist cooks up a strategic acquisition

The Airedale Group, which designs, installs and maintains catering facilities and is backed by PE firm Rubicon Partners, has acquired Sprint Refrigeration & Catering Ltd.

Founded in 1994 by David Ryan, Sprint has become a significant national player in the industry.

Its services include design, installation, and ongoing maintenance support, which aligns with Airedale’s own customer offering.

The acquisition presents a highly strategic investment for Bradford-based Airedale Group and is expected to enhance the value proposition for the group’s customers through the benefits of scale and technology.

Ross Ryan, director at Sprint, said: “This is a great opportunity to build on everything that has been achieved by the Sprint team.

“The support and investment available as part  of the Airedale Group will help deliver our growth plans and see the business fulfil its potential.

“After extensive discussions over many months with the Airedale team it became clear the two businesses have similar priorities and values, especially with respect to customer focus and a dedication to delivering exceptional results.

“We’re convinced Sprint’s growth will only accelerate as a result of group synergies and the investment available.”

Rob Bywell, CEO of The Airedale Group, added: “With this acquisition, Airedale Group are demonstrating a continued commitment to broadening our offering, and to investing in unique propositions for the hospitality and food service sector.

“With Sprint’s expertise in high growth sectors such as quick service restaurants and supermarket retail, coupled with Airedale’s resources in areas such as fabrication and our industry-leading pool of engineering talent, we can offer customers solutions that can’t be found elsewhere.”

Bywell said Rubicon Partners’ investment in Airedale back in May 2021 had provided the business with the launchpad necessary to move the group to the next level.

He said: “With Rubicon’s backing, we have the capacity to make further investments both in our current operations, and by seeking to acquire businesses, like Sprint and Network, that will broaden and enhance our service offer.

“With the increasing pressures being applied to all operators in our sector from labour shortages, high inflation and soaring energy costs, the combined scale of Airedale Group will help not only insulate the business from some of these challenges, but more importantly, offer an enhanced service to customers and invest in new initiatives to support sustainable growth.” 

Luke Ryan and Ross Ryan will continue to lead Sprint as part of the group. And Airedale Group has renewed the lease at Sprint’s offices for another 10 years.

The Airedale Group was supported by Martin Sweeney and the team at Schofield Sweeney who managed legal due diligence and corporate documentation, and PwC with Jonathan Cooper’s team undertaking tax and financial due diligence.

Tom Sikora at HSBC provided banking support.