Thursday 22 March 2018

Bobbett forks out for Asian plant

Tom Lyons

H&K International, the Irish stainless steel kitchen-maker with turnover of $490m a year, has acquired a manufacturing facility in Indonesia.

H&K, which is owned by entrepreneur David Bobbett and his management team, bought the company called MMP last week for an undisclosed sum. Bobbett said the business would add 200 staff to its existing 1,200 employees including 60 people in Ireland working in engineering, finance, management information systems and international sales.

"We have decided to increase our activity in that region of the world," Bobbett said last week. In China alone, Bobbett who is a new entrant in this week's Sunday Independent rich list, estimated H&K would install about 200 new kitchens in restaurant chains this year. Despite this expansion Bobbett said that markets like China could be difficult.

"I am excited about the fact that I'm there supporting a customer but I know it is in the other areas of the world that I have the opportunities to grow," Bobbett said. He said in America his company was growing by getting more involved in project management. "We are involved in the site survey, we'll do the drawing, we'll have the construction team go in. We are really excited about that area," he said.

"We also have a service solution which we are introducing in Australia and we believe is going to become a big opportunity for us. We spend more money on systems and processes then we do in manufacturing," he added.

Last Thursday Bobbett launched a new charity called Irish Heart Disease Awareness to coincide with the broadcast of a documentary telling his story of having the "heart of an 87 year old," giving him a much higher chance of having a heart attack.

Bobbett said he wanted to raise awareness of heart disease which could be detected by a simple calcification test.

Irish Independent

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