Integral UK has revealed ambitious plans to grow in the refrigeration sector following the acquisition of a major part of WR Refrigeration’s business.
Following the deal with administrators PWC, Integral is now responsible for delivering nationwide contracts for several High Street food retailers, including Tesco, Morrison's and Waitrose. Added to this is a contract with The Co-op Group recently awarded to Integral before the latest acquisition.
It has also acquired an award-winning refrigeration training centre in Birmingham and a cabinet supply and refurbishment operation, giving the company access to highly regarded Italian-made Arneg display cases.
The acquisition adds annual revenue of approximately £30m and catapults Integral into the premier league of refrigeration contractors in the UK. Integral is now a £280m approx. turnover multi-disciplinary property and building engineering services company.
Integral UK Ltd is a leader in its field with a proven track record over 50 years of delivering high quality services to some of the biggest names on the High Street, managing contracts with clients in financial services, retail, healthcare and the public sector.
It provides a comprehensive range of property and building engineering maintenance services to more than 16,000 clients in 40,000 locations across the UK.
Integral's entrance into the refrigeration sector is part of planned strategic growth into complementary technical disciplines. It will operate the newly acquired business alongside its recently won refrigeration maintenance contract with Co-op's South West and Wales and London, South East Regions.
The acquisition sees the transfer of more than 200 fully qualified refrigeration engineers to Integral's existing team of 1300 field technicians, which operate from 16 branches across the country.
Bryan Glastonbury, managing director of Integral UK, said: 'We are delighted to have made this acquisition, which safeguards a substantial number of jobs and ensures continuity of service to customers.
'Refrigeration has been on our radar for some time as a key target area for growth. The synergies with our existing m&e maintenance services are obvious. Adding refrigeration enriches our offering to existing clients and expands the range of services we can deliver to new clients.'
He added: 'Integral's financial strength and technical capabilities enable us to invest and harness existing expertise alongside refrigeration. Given the changes taking place in the refrigeration market, in particular the drive towards green technology and higher engineering standards, we are excited about the future potential.'
Integral puts a strong emphasis on Planned and Preventive Maintenance (PPM) in order to reduce the need for Reactive Maintenance. It recognises the importance of this approach in the refrigeration sector, where clients have vulnerable and very valuable assets dependent on plant and equipment.
Over the last two years the company has developed a new software platform called Galileo, which utilises predictive maintenance technology to link the measured physical condition of installed plant to the manufacturer's algorithms.
'It allows us to accurately predict both the condition and life-cycle of major items of plant. The software platform was developed initially for critical sites such as data centres and trading floors. However, I believe it could be applied just as effectively in the refrigeration sector, especially where large systems are involved.'
He added: 'We have championed the importance of PPM as a means of improving plant reliability, reducing running costs, optimising performance and ensuring protection of the environment, which are key objectives for our food retail clients,' says Bryan Glastonbury. 'It is essential to maintain the operational reliability of critical refrigeration plant, on which food retail businesses depend.'
The company has a policy of carrying out the vast majority of service and maintenance work in-house by its own qualified technicians and engineers. Some 86per cent of all activity is carried out by Integral's directly employed teams, enabling the company to ensure a high quality service is delivered.
Integral emphasises the importance of technical training for staff, and currently has 80 apprentices employed across the business. It believes that maintaining the right level and mix of skills is essential in order to deliver the integrated multi-disciplinary technical services the market requires today.
'We will continue and expand this to support our growing refrigeration activities. The newly acquired refrigeration training academy based in the Midlands is a world-beater, with examples of all the major alternatives now being trialled. It is a unique facility and gives us a competitive edge in this fast developing area, and will help us develop the skills needed for the future.'
Integral has also acquired the 24/7 service centre at Thurmaston, which operates a round-the-clock monitoring operation for clients. It will work in tandem with Integral's existing service centre.