Johnson cleans up with big linen deal

The owner of dry cleaner Johnsons is to become the UK’s biggest supplier of linen to the restaurant trade after completing a £65.4m deal yesterday.

Johnson Service Group has bought London Linen Supply, which supplies over 900 customers at over 3,400 locations including top eateries such as Jamie Oliver, The Wolseley and Brasserie Blanc.

The move follows its £22m purchase of hotel linen supplier Bourne Services last year, a deal which continues to perform ahead of expectations.

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Cheshire-based Johnson also has workwear rental business Apparelmaster and Stalbridge, which focuses on hotel, catering and corporate hospitality.

London Linen operates from a 76,000 sq ft factory in Southall, West London, where it cleans up to two million pieces of linen per week. It reported sales up 8 per cent to £29.4m and adjusted pre-tax profit up 12 per cent to £5.5m in the year to October 25.

Johnson has raised £21.1m for the deal by placing 30 million new shares and has also agreed a £120m financing package with its existing banks.

Chief executive Chris Sander said: “I have known London Linen for many years and have been very impressed with the quality of their business and the growth achieved in recent years.”

In January, Johnson said it planned to close 109 of its 307 dry-cleaning branches.