Catering equipment distributor Nisbets has extended a 0% hire purchase (HP) offer to over 20 brands, with financing provided through subsidiary Chef Leasing.

Nisbets had been piloting 0% offers on the Thor and Polar brands since November. Interest-free finance has now been made available for “conditional sale agreements” on makes including Olympia, Samsung, KitchenAid, Buffalo, Vogue and Dynamic.

Purchases above £500 (€563) can be spread out over 12 months, with the first month’s installment acting as deposit. The catering distributor also offers leases for 12, 24 or 36 months on purchases above £1,000, also through Chef Leasing.

Nisbets has highlighted leasing as an area of increased focus for growth, with revenues from asset finance accounting for a small but rapidly-growing slice of the distributor’s £380m turnover last year.

“We are spending more time to understand our customer requirements, using data to find out what customers really need and then basing our decisions on that,” Nisbets chief executive Klaus Goeldenbot told trade publication Foodservice Equipment Journal earlier this year.

He added: “At this point in time I think we need more insight from the customer so that we can prioritise because there are so many ideas floating around. But certainly the development of financial products is an interesting area … What we have picked up from customers is that there is a need for it, which is why we launched it.

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“The market will decide whether it becomes a bigger element of the offering for us, but it is becoming a part of the menu in the current climate because people are finding it difficult to secure funding for capital equipment.”

The Chef Leasing unit reported revenues of just under £791,000 for the year to December, up 82% on the previous year. Operating profit was £214,701 – reversing a £40,439 loss from 2016 – but interest payable and tax expenses pushed the bottom line £78,842 into the red.

Chef Leasing is headed by former solicitor and insurance sales executive Simon Pharoah. Its team includes underwriters Charlotte Roberts, formerly of TSB and ALD Automotive staffer, and Victoria Justice, previously at Barclays and Bank of Ireland. The company is currently advertising for an additional underwriter and a collections officer.