Stobart’s latest acquisition puts £100m on turnover

Cumbria-based logistics giant Stobart Group has acquired the chilled and ambient goods operations of Innovate Logistics from its administrators BDO Stoy Hayward.

Stobart will take on a number of the Nottingham-based group's contracts, including a warehousing operation with Nestle, an existing Stobart customer. Around 1,300 existing employees of Innovate Logistics will transfer to Stobart.

The deal includes the licensing of 280 tractor units, 350 trailers and associated warehousing from the administrators for an initial six month period in order to service the contracts with the option of assuming the leases thereafter.

The enlarged Stobart will have more than 1,800 trucks, 3,200 trailers and employ over 5,300 people in 40 locations across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

No price was disclosed for the buyout but a spokeswoman said it came with no debt and new banking facilities would be created to fund Innovate operations.

Innovate's contracts are expected to generate turnover of around £100m a year and the acquisition is expected to enhance earnings in the first full year.

In May, Stobart reported revenue of £108.8m from continuing activities for the 14-month period from 31 December 2007 to 29 February 2008. Profit before tax was £3.5m.

Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of Stobart Group, said: "This [acquisition] is a low risk way of increasing our presence in the chilled market, giving our customers more choice and flexibility. It is entirely in-line with our strategy of building the group."

Stobart's other recent acquisitions include the Port of Weston, Carlisle Airport and Cheshire haulier James Irlam, as it seeks to become a multi-modal logistics group.

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