Xpediator Plc acquires Benfleet Forwarding Ltd
Xpediator, Delamode’s holding company, has completed the acquisition of UK-based international freight forwarder, Benfleet Forwarding Ltd.
- Benfleet is a complementary acquisition with immediate cross-selling opportunities and potential cost synergies.
- Benfleet generated revenue of £21.0m, operating profit of £1.73m and profit after tax of £1.35m during the year ended 31 March 2017 (“FY17”). Net assets at 31 March 2017 were £1.35m and cash in the balance sheet at completion was approximately £2.47m.
- Cash consideration will be funded from existing resources.
- Benfleet operates across Europe, with offices in Dover, Basildon and Chelmsford in the UK, Trento in Italy and Ploiesti in Romania.
- Benfleet is an asset-light operation providing freight forwarding services including road transport and ocean freight shipments.
- On completion the enlarged Group will operate from 5 sites in the UK together with 11 offices in Europe and employ over 650 people.
- Acquisition is expected to be immediately earnings enhancing.
As stated at the time of Xpediator’s IPO in August this year, a key reason for Xpediator listing on AIM was to facilitate the Company’s M&A strategy in the highly fragmented freight forwarding and logistics market. Benfleet was identified as an acquisition opportunity prior to the Company’s IPO given the natural fit between the two businesses offering attractive synergies and cross-selling opportunities.
Benfleet, headquartered in Basildon, England, is an international freight forwarding business established in 1987, specialising in the movement of flooring, machinery, household goods and garments. Benfleet’s highly experienced management team, operates an asset-light operation that includes road transport and ocean freight shipments, coordinated through offices in Dover and Felixstowe, with services extending across Southern Europe to Italy, Greece, Portugal and Turkey, as well as the Far East and China. In 2015, Benfleet secured a significant Chinese customer with which it entered into a six-year contract and which Xpediator believes could result in further cross-selling opportunities.
Stephen Blyth, Xpediator CEO, commented, “We know the Benfleet business well and we are confident it will be a commercially valuable and accretive acquisition for us. Benfleet shares our asset light approach to freight forwarding and will add significantly to our sea freight activities.
“The Benfleet team are well known and highly experienced and we are delighted that Jason Herring, Benfleet’s Managing Director, will continue to run the business.
“Our client bases are similar but do not have significant overlap and while our services our comparable our geographic focuses are different. There are therefore immediate opportunities to provide greater geographic coverage to both client bases and we have identified duplicated costs.
“Our strategy is to grow not only organically but also by acquiring smaller competing businesses which can enhance the Group’s earnings and enhance our services to existing and new clients. This acquisition meets these criteria and we look forward to integrating Benfleet alongside our Delamode freight forwarding activities.”
Potential Acquisition Benefits
- Offers an established presence in countries outside Xpediator’s core European regions, in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Portugal.
- Port offices in Dover and Felixstowe are well placed to facilitate future customs clearance activity in the event of a hard border post Brexit.
- Leverage further opportunities around Benfleet’s six-year contract signed with significant Chinese customer
- Similar services offered across different geographies provides opportunity for cost-synergies through increased group buying such as haulier procurement.
- Benfleet’s current sea freight activity will strengthen the Group’s existing service offerings.
- Minimum integration costs, the business will continue to operate under the Benfleet brand.
- Benfleet will continue to be led by Jason and will retain a high degree of autonomy whilst benefiting from the synergies of being part of a larger group.