Acquisition of Peter Rowland Catering throws lifeline to struggling catering company
The business employs more than 100 staff full-time and 2000 part-timers throughout the year, servicing some of the biggest event hospitality contracts in Victoria, including The Melbourne Cup Carnival, The National Gallery of Victoria, Rippon Lea Estate and the Australian Grand Prix. Peter Rowland carved a career as caterer to the rich and famous, including Alan Bond’s weddings and James Packer’s 21st birthday party.
The business has been reformed into new company Peter Rowland Group. Chinese-Australian property developer Mohan Du, 30, who is behind the new 5-star Marriott hotel project in the Docklands, is behind the acquisition.
After taking a step back, Peter Rowland will return in the role of chairman to steward the business with the assistance of a younger management team headed up by CEO Emma Yee. Rowland said this investment has ensured all trading partners are secured, trade creditors have been paid and the company was looking to the future.
“With this acquisition we believe that Peter Rowland has many more successful years ahead of it,” he said.
“We are very pleased to be able to continue to be a major employer in Melbourne and to continue to have the opportunity to deliver some of Melbourne’s best events.
“I know that Mohan and Emma’s youthful outlook will herald a new era for this business and I greatly look forward to working with the two of them as well as the rest of the team.”
A restructuring process that has covered all parts of the company is now being finalised, with some jobs not being taken up in the new Group. As part of the process, the senior management team also contributed personally to a significant financial shareholding in the new Group.
It has been a rough ride for Rowland who sold his Toorak mansion for $8.6 million to help prop up the business. He also had to deal with the loss of his daughter to cancer in 2014.
“It has been personally a very hard road to lose a child and then watch as everything you have built starts to fall apart,” Rowland said. “Peter Rowland Catering has employed probably five generations of young Melbourne people for their first job, so we were very conscious of finding a solution that would minimise job losses and allow us to employ young Melburnians for the long-term future.”
Du said the new Peter Rowland Group was now a company set up for the future and poised to take back its mantle at the top of the hospitality game.
“This is the start of an exciting new chapter for an iconic Melbourne business,” he said. “I am excited to work alongside Peter and the team to drive innovation, taking the company in a direction no other hospitality company is thinking about. There is a lot of potential there.”