Felixstowe: Wincanton completes exit from mainland Europe

LOGISTICS group Wincanton today completed its exit from mainland Europe in a 44million euro (�38.5m) deal with German group Rhenus.

The disposal includes Wincanton’s German intermodal and contract logistics operations, which involves a total of 38 locations, and the group’s French business which provides a contract logistics and transport service from 30 sites.

In the year to March 31, 2011, the businesses generated revenue of about 558m euros, and operating profit of around 4.1m euros.

In addition to the sale price Rhenus will also assume a net pension deficit of about 30m euros (�26.2m), so putting an enterprise value on the business, which employs around 3,000 people, to 74m euros (�64.7m).

The net proceeds will be used by Wincanton to reduce debt.

The deal is subject to the approval of Wincanton’s shareholders, with notice of a general meeting to be circulated shortly, and to anti-trust clearance and approvals.

Wincanton will continue to operate from more than 250 sites in the UK where it has 1.25million square metres of warehousing and provides comprehensive supply chain solutions to a string of major clients including Argos, BT, Comet, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Shell, Tesco and Unilver.

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Its operations also include a container logistics business, based in Felixstowe.

Eric Born, chief executive of Wincanton, said: “The sale of our remaining businesses in mainland europe to Rhenus will enable us to focus on developing our leading position in the UK market, where we have greater scale and see significant potential for profitable growth.

“Rhenus has a strong reputation in the European market and the addition of these businesses to its portfolio will build on its leading position in intermodal services and contract logistics.

“Over the next few weeks, we will work together to ensure that service levels to our customers are maintained during the transition period.”