Europa Worldwide is celebrating the start of its 50th anniversary with year-long commemorations as the company is en route for long term growth. Europa, which remains independently owned, was established before the UK joined the Single Market, and boss Andrew Baxter, who was a keen advocate of leaving the EU, believes the company now is in the best shape in its 50-year history.
He believes it is in a strong position to take advantage of Brexit and other trading opportunities thanks to major investment and restructuring since he acquired the business in 2013.
The £30million 1hub facility in Dartford and the company’s £1.7million IT programme are just two capital investments which have significantly put Europa on the road for greater success. The company’s target is to be the market leader for the distribution of goods between the UK and Europe by 2018.
Andrew said: “Our business model has created long term stability for the company. We have had to swallow some bitter pills to restructure the business but these changes were necessary to secure its future growth.
“Our focus now is on greater profitability and expansion. That will be through organic growth and we will consider suitable acquisitions in the medium to long term if they strategically fit with our ambitions.”
Brexit is an issue which Andrew believes is a great opportunity for the business and also the industry. He added: “At a time when many businesses are inward looking and retrenching after the EU referendum, we will embrace the opportunities. We are a vital component in the supply chain of many businesses in the UK and abroad and it’s important we continue to work hard on behalf of our customers to make their operations more successful.
“Europa was built on trade with our European partners, and half a century down the line it is still an important market for us. But we are also forging new business opportunities in new and emerging markets and celebrating our 50th anniversary is a great way to see how far we have come in a relatively short space of time. Our employees have played a major role in creating this success and their continued support and hard work will ensure a great future for the company.”
The year-long commemorations will include celebrations for employees and customers to acknowledge and thank them for the part they have played in the company’s success. It will also include fund raising for one chosen charity for the year which will be named in a few weeks’ time, and the company will match fundraising totals for employees who are involved in charity events.
Europa was established in 1966 when it opened up above a bookmakers in the East End of London. The owner, Adrian Chambers, was a professional racing car driver who found it hard to find a company who would ship cars and parts between the UK and Italy. At that time, there were no motorways across France and Italy, no roll-on-roll off ferries which meant trucks had to be craned on as deck cargo at Southampton.
Some 47 years later, the business was acquired by Andrew Baxter in 2013 when it employed 460 people and had a turnover of £76 million. Andrew undertook a two-year restructuring programme which included setting up four dedicated divisions – Road, Warehouse, Air & Sea and Showfreight. The company’s turnover is set to push through the £100 million turnover by the end of the year.
Europa Worldwide Group now employs around 600 people across 11 sites in the UK plus Hong Kong and is represented in 100 countries.