Johnson group buys Afonwen laundry business for £52.6m

Afonwen lorry delivering linen Image copyright Afonwen

Welsh firm Afonwen has been sold to hotel laundry and high street cleaning chain Johnson Service Group (JSG) for £52.6m.

Afonwen, which specialises in bulk laundry contracts for hotels and industry, has bases in Cardiff, Pwllheli in Gwynedd, and Reading.

It employs about 750 people across the UK, including at its Leeds distribution centre.

JSG said the buyout will complement its high-volume linen business.

"The addition of Afonwen significantly strengthens our quality and service offering within the high volume hotel linen sector," said JSG chief executive Chris Sander.

"I have known Afonwen for many years and have been very impressed with the quality of its business, the investment in additional laundry facilities and the resultant growth achieved in recent years."

JSG is most well known for its Johnson the Cleaners high street dry-cleaners chain of shops.

Image copyright Afonwen

Afonwen's current managing director Mark Woolfenden will stay at the company, along with the firm's finance director.

"With increasing consolidation in the UK textile rental market, the opportunity to scale up into a larger organisation and allow us to offer fully nationwide coverage was a huge attraction," said Mr Woolfenden.

"We look forward to continued growth."

In addition to the buyout of Afonwen, JSG said it intends raising nearly £28m in a new share issue.

Afonwen was originally founded in 1935 by William George, the brother of the former Welsh prime minister, David Lloyd George.

By 2014, the company was delivering 2.7 million items of linen every week across Britain.