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Europa accelerates acquisition ambitions

Europa accelerates acquisition ambitions

Following its most successful year to date, leading independent logistics operator Europa Worldwide Group has officially announced it is on the acquisition trail.

Europa Worldwide Group is a privately-owned operator which delivers air, sea, road and warehousing services, employing around 650 people across 11 sites in the UK plus Hong Kong and is represented in 100 countries.

The business was acquired in 2013 by Managing Director Andrew Baxter and, following a bold front-end restructuring which has seen turnover increase to £116m, the company now intends to expand through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. To begin with, the company is looking to buy a £20m-£60m turnover freight business.

Andrew said: “To be honest, we are pretty open minded in terms of acquisition targets. We are looking to develop all of our international markets, therefore the first acquisition may be air, sea or road orientated. We are also pretty open as to whether the business is a regional or national operator, or where it is based in the UK. As long as the business adds strength to our market position in one of our core sectors, then we are happy.

Europa Worldwide Group’s turnover has seen a £20m increase on the previous year, while profit before tax has increased to £2.3m from a loss of £1.6m in 2015. All divisions of the business – Air, Sea, Showfreight, Road and Warehouse – have all seen turnover growth respectively too.

Andrew added: “We’re in a very strong position now and so I believe the time is right to start to acquire businesses which fit well within our operating model and which will improve our market position.

“We believe that we will continue to have strong organic growth of around 20% across the business this year. In the Road division, during the last two years we have been focused upon building daily services from Dartford to around 30 European hubs. Now that that project is nearing completion, we are planning to start developing additional lines to the continent directly from our 10 regional depots.

“If for example we were to acquire a regional operator, with existing direct lines, then this would help speed up this process. We see the opportunity to make multiple acquisitions of this nature in the next few years. In addition, we want to strengthen our Air and Sea activities. Therefore, again we are interested in those opportunities.”

Finance Director at Europa Worldwide Group Rob Ross added: “Projected turnover for the business for 2017 is £140m, with strong growth trajectories established across all areas of the business. Now that things have settled down post restructuring, we have management capacity to focus upon new projects. Therefore the next logical step is to look for sensible bolt-on acquisitions.

“Our success is a result of the bold decisions we made three years ago. We made the biggest single investment in Europa’s history when we opened our £30m 1hub in Dartford, which is the UK’s largest European groupage hub, and we invested nearly £2m in completely overhauling our IT system by introducing our own, Leonardo TMS software.

“Our experience of restructuring and all of the challenges associated with it makes us well placed to deal with the subtle process of integrating new businesses into our group.”

Europa Worldwide Group now employs around 650 people across 11 sites in the UK plus Hong Kong and is represented in 100 countries.

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