From its main distribution hubs in Liverpool and Wirral, Abbey Logistics has established itself as a leading UK player and a new acquisition grows its footprint in the South West. Tony McDonough reports
Bulk logistics specialist Abbey Logistics has significantly increased its footprint in the South West of England with the acquisition of a liquid tanker specialist.
Operating from its main storage and distribution bases in Liverpool and Wirral, Abbey’s reach extends across the UK. And the acquisition of Somerset-based Welch Hire will add 48 bulk liquid road tankers and 13 tractor units to its fleet.
The deal also gives Abbey an operating site in the South West of England and a larger customer footprint in Europe, which Abbey says will open further commercial opportunities for the business.
Welch is well known in the bulk liquid food and animal feed markets in both the UK and Europe, and the company shares several customers with Abbey. Together, the combined business will further strengthen Abbey’s position as the UK’s leading tanker company in bulk liquid food as the deal adds further scale, capability, and flexibility into its operations.
Last year Abbey said it was looking to return to profitability following “a period of significant transition” which included changes to the management team. For the year to June 2019 the business recorded a loss of a pre-tax loss of £3.7m from revenues of £62.7m.
In the 12 months to June 27, 2020, Abbey reordered a similar turnover of £62.8m but had managed to cut its pre-tax losses by more than half to £1.2m. In its annual report, posted on Companies House in December 2020, Abby said it had added a number of new customer and now had a “settled management team”.
The company had seen a temporary reduction in trading volumes when the first COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in late March 2020. It said volume had returned to normal just a few weeks later in June 2020.
Last week it was revealed the Abbey had renewed its leases on its 137,000 sq ft site at for a further 10 years at Wirral International Business Park. Abbey is already the biggest tenant at the park.
Founded in 1998, Welch Hire has a large and modern liquid bulk road tanker fleet, and in addition to its tank hire business, the company provides both fully managed logistics and single ‘spot’ product movements of bulk liquid food grade products throughout the UK and Europe.
Its employees will transfer to Abbey under the deal and the company will be integrated into the Abbey brand following a period of familiarisation.
Steve Granite, Abbey Logistics chief executive, said: “This acquisition is a natural step for us as we further enhance our market-leading position in bulk liquid food and boost the support we provide to customers in the UK and Europe.
“Through strategic acquisitions like this, we are unlocking opportunities in new geographies and accelerating the growth we have seen in the business in the last two years.”