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Tomorrow’s Cleaning editor Matt Waring spoke to Stewart Dennett, Managing Director for the UK and Ireland at Nilfisk, and Kris Crompton, Director at Contractor, to find out a bit more about their recent acquisition, and to hear how Nilfisk are breaking the mould for cleaning machine manufacturers.

Just before the turn of the year, Tomorrow’s Cleaning was invited up to the UK base of Nilfisk in Penrith to find out more about their recent acquisition of Contractor, the Manchester-based provider of repair and preventative maintenance for cleaning machines across the country.

Primarily servicing the contract cleaning and retail sectors, Contractor claim to have ‘an established and proven reputation for the nationwide fast fix and asset sweat of all makes and models of cleaning machinery for an all-inclusive, fixed cost’ under a strategy they have penned as ‘Total Asset Management’.

Using this strategy the firm can effectively sweat the assets of any company that uses cleaning machines, which has proven to be perfect for contract cleaners looking to cut down on the potentially expensive outlay of replacing broken down machines. It has also seen Contractor land contracts with big name clients including major blue chip retailers.

This approach to total asset management is something that had caught the eye of several big names in the cleaning industry, including Nilfisk, who, as part of their ‘Accelerate’ growth strategy – which aims to increase the speed at which the company expands both organically and through acquisitions over the coming years – were keen to expand into the ever-growing market of the contract cleaning sector.

Stewart Dennett, Managing Director for UK and Ireland at Nilfisk, believes that the acquisition of one of the market leaders in the form of Contractor was the best way to do

this, stating ‘if you can’t beat them, buy them!’

He said: “We admired Contractor as probably our strongest competitor for machine service. This wasn’t actually our first approach to them – we approached them first in 2012 – and I believe that they are certainly the market leaders when it comes to service provision for contract cleaners in the country.

“We’ve considered that buying a competitor, especially a good one, is likely the best way of expanding as a business, all other things being equal. You increase your business overnight because you immediately take on that business, and having a good look at Contractor, we recognised that they were in a very strong growth process, and this acquisition also opens up more doors for machine sales, which is our primary focus going forward.

“It was a key strategy of ours to go into that contract cleaning market, and it just seemed to make so much sense, so that’s why we did it.”

However, while Stewart may feel that the acquisition means that they have eliminated one of their main competitors for machine service and allowed them to move into the contract cleaning sector, he was keen to stress that Contractor will still operate as its own separate entity – something that he feels makes Nilfisk stand apart from its competitors.

He explained: “One thing that we’ve done differently is that we’re not going to be integrating Contractor, they are a standalone business, albeit under the umbrella of Nilfisk. We make no secret of the fact that we own Contractor, but

Tomorrow’s Cleaning January 2016 | 39

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