Wincanton is selling all its remaining continental businesses to German group Rhenus for £38 million (44m euros). Rhenus will also take over responsibility for a pension deficit of £26m (30m euros).
The operations comprise Wincanton’s German intermodal and contract logistics businesses, which operate from 38 locations, and Wincanton’s businesses in France, which provide contract logistics and transport services and operate from 30 locations.
In the year to 31 March, these businesses generated sales of some 558m euros and, and operating profit of £3.6 million (4.1m euros). They employ approximately 3,000 employees who will transfer to Rhenus upon completion.
The deal is subject to the approval by Wincanton’s shareholders. Proceeds will be used to reduced the group’s debts. The group reported a net debt of £152m in 2011. Although this is lower than at the height of the recession in 2009, it is still more than double the £66m figure in 2007.
Wincanton chief Eric Born 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. I would like to personally thank all of my colleagues in these businesses for their hard work and contribution to Wincanton over the years,” he said.
Rhenus said the purchase would build on its product portfolio in continental Europe, especially in the port logistics and contract logistics business areas.
“The integration of Rhenus and Wincanton on the European mainland will enable Rhenus to enhance its range of business services and provide both existing and future customers with better solutions to their logistics challenges.”
The Rhenus Group has an annual turnover of 3 billion euros and employs 18,000 people at more than 290 locations worldwide.