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Middleby stays on acquisition trail with purchase of EVO America Inc.

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The Middleby Corporation acquires commercial cooktop manufacturer for an undisclosed price, reports Michael Jones

EVO America Inc., the innovative commercial cooktop manufacturer, has been acquired by The Middleby Corporation for an undisclosed price.

The Oregon-based company, profiled in the Q3 edition of FCSI’s Foodservice Consultant, currently generates approximately $8 million in annual revenue, according to estimates in Portland Business Journal.

EVO was founded in 2001 by Bob Shingler, a keen outdoorsman and fisherman who pioneered “an evenly heated circular cooktop after struggling to heat fish on his camping trips,” the PBJ reported in 2014.

The company’s EVent series of electric griddles with downdraft ventilation is specifically built for front-of-house cooking in restaurants, sports arenas, cafeterias, convention centers, resorts, grocery stores and other locations without overhead hoods. Currently, EVent systems are used in 27 stadia and arenas in the US and Canada.

Growing demand

“Back in 2012, we were asked to look at a Japanese teppan table for a client who wanted rid of the large, overhead hoods that put a limit on the conversation at the table,” says Scott Heim, president & CEO of Evo, Inc., who presented on the topic of ventless technology with William Caruso FFCSI, founding partner of WC&P in Denver, Colorado, at the FCSI The Americas 2018 Conference in Denver.

“The smell is also an issue in that style of cooking. Some people don’t like ending up smelling like their lunch. So, we installed a ventless unit in a Benihana restaurant in Oregon in 2015 and since then the technology has improved,” says Heim.

“This technology is very useful to us as consultant, as it opens up many opportunities,” says Caruso. “It gives you the option to go ventless with cooked products, rather than serving cold food, which means an increase in per capita spend of up to 30%. Now, you have the ability to put cooking into many areas where it was not previously possible.”

The acquisition, confirmed on 31 December 2018, is a common sense one for The Middleby Corporation, says chairman and CEO Selim A. Bassoul. “We see a growing demand for diversity in ventless cooking options as operators understand the significant costs associated with the installation of traditional ventilation. Additionally, customers are increasingly in search of solutions that minimize restrictions imposed by externally vented hoods and duct work, as they cook in non-traditional locations and add new equipment to existing kitchens.”

We believe there is strong growth potential as we integrate the EVO technology with other Middleby brands and cooking solutions and introduce EVO to Middleby’s sales and distribution channels.”

Acquisition trail

The move follows the recent acquisitions by The Middleby Corporation of Crown Food Service Equipment, Ltd., a leading design and manufacturer of steam cooking equipment for the commercial foodservice industry, which was also acquired in December 2018, and the October 2018 purchase of M-TEK Corporation, a leading manufacturer of Modified Atmosphere Packing (MAP) systems.

In May 2018, The Middleby Corporation acquired Taylor Company, a world leader in beverage solutions, soft serve and ice cream dispensing equipment, frozen drink machines and automated double-sided grills, from UTC Climate, Controls & Security – a unit of United Technologies – for $1.0 billion.

In April 2018  The Middleby Corporation announced the acquisition of Josper S.A., a leading manufacturer of charcoal grill and oven cooking equipment for commercial foodservice and residential applications, and JoeTap, a subsidiary of A.C. Beverage, Inc., and a leading innovator of on-demand nitro and cold brew coffee dispensing equipment for the commercial foodservice industry. In the same month it acquired Firex Srl., a leading manufacturer of steam cooking equipment for the commercial foodservice industry, based in Sedico, Italy.

In March 2018 The Middleby Corporation announced the acquisition of Ve.Ma.C., a leading designer and manufacturer of handling, automation and robotics solutions for protein food processing lines. In February 2018, The Middleby Corporation acquired Hinds-Bock Corporation, a leading manufacturer of solutions for filling and depositing bakery and food product, an integral part of the industrial baking and food processing line.

The Middleby Corporation’s net earnings for the third quarter were $72.9 million or $1.31 diluted earnings per share on net sales of $713.3 million as compared to the prior year third quarter net earnings of $74.7 million or $1.31 diluted earnings per share on net sales of $593.0 million.

Michael Jones