Stobart Group has agreed to buy car transport specialist Autologic Holdings in a deal worth £12.4m.
Stobart sees opportunities to make more use of its rail services in the Autologic business.
It said: “The car transport sector suffers from significant levels of one-way traffic flow of cars from the main ports to dealerships, with resultant empty running on the return leg. The Stobart directors believe that the ability of Autologic to use the Stobart Rail infrastructure would reduce the level of empty running and derive key operating and environmental benefits as a result. In addition, Autologic should be able to benefit from the Stobart Group’s significant storage sites both in terms of car storage and also overnight truck parking.
Stobart said Autologic would also benefit from the group’s buying power – particularly for new vehicles and parts.
The offer price of 20p per share represents a 74 per cent premium on the price of 11.5p immediately before news of the potential deal broke.
Stobart said it had the support of shareholders representing some 61.3 per cent of Autologic’s shares.
“Autologic is an excellent fit with our group strategy to expand into complementary service offerings and it will facilitate our entry into the auto-logistics market in a leading position,” Stobart chief Andrew Tinkler said. “We expect to be able to drive substantial synergies and efficiencies from improved fleet utilisation, vehicle buying and maintenance, which will benefit our customers and drive value for our shareholders. We also see opportunities to expand Autologic’s presence in Europe where we have a growing presence.”
And Avril Palmer-Baunack, chief executive of Autologic, said: “The combination of Stobart and Autologic will further strengthen Autologic’s market-leading position in the automotive marketplace. It will enable us to provide new, flexible and innovative solutions to our customer base, while also giving us the opportunity to improve competitiveness as a result of being part of a bigger business.”