Felixstowe: Deben Transport expands with deal for Elite Transport Services

Deben Transport is expanding with a deal to buy most of the Elite Transport Services business from o

Deben Transport is expanding with a deal to buy most of the Elite Transport Services business from out of administration

SUFFOLK-based road haulage company Deben Transport has strengthened its presence in the north of England by acquiring the assets and business of Elite Transport Services Ltd which went into administration earlier this month.

Deben, which is based in Felixstowe, already operates nationally, with a network of depots at locations including Southampton, Tilbury, Birmingham, Manchester and Middlesbrough.

Its acquisition of a majority of the Elite business, for an undisclosed sum, will give Deben a presence in Leeds and a larger depot in Manchester.

It will also expand its vehicle fleet, which currently stands at 156, by more than 70, plus around 30 subcontractors, and increase its workforce, which currently numbers about 230, by around 100.

Ivan Chittock, finance director at Deben Transport, said Elite had been a highly professional and successful container haulier over many years.

However, a decline in volumes amid the economic downturn had seen Elite enter into a Company Voluntary Arrangement in February this year, and the withdrawal of a major customer at the start of this month had left it with no choice but to enter administration.

“The haulage industry generally is not in a good place at the moment,” said Mr Chittock. “You either have to reduce costs and reduce your fleet or bring in more business.

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“This important development for Deben will place the company in a stronger position with more resources, increased depot coverage and a greater customer base, enabling us to make more efficient use of all of our assets.

“The deal will give Deben a fleet of over 200 trucks and 300 trailers with a total national depot structure of 10 sites. The company will continue to provide a first class service to all of its customers.”

The Elite business will be rebranded as Deben Transport, with Gary Bethal remaining at Deben’s general manger for northern operations.

Deben, which was founded in 1987, was advised on the deal by the Ipswich office of accountants BDO, previously part of PKF until the two firms merged earlier this month, and Mr Chittock thanked both BDO and banking group HSBC for their support.

BDO partner Keith Ferguson said: “BDO is pleased to have been instrumental in this significant merger for the transport sector.

“We are sure that the transaction secures a bright future for the business. These are exciting times for BDO, as we too have just been through a successful merger.”