EmergeVest buys CM Downton for £75m

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EmergeVest, the private equity investor, has acquired CM Downton for £75 million. The deal means that EmergeVest’s UK logistics investments now have a turnover of more than £700 million making it a top ten player in the UK logistics market.

Hong Kong-based EmergeVest bought NFT Distribution in 2014 before going on to buy Palletforce in 2015. Its current UK portfolio also includes Adjuno, Allport Cargo Services, and NR Evans.

Downton is based at Moreton Valance near Gloucester. Customers include AB InBev, Dyson, Whirlpool, Fever-Tree, Saica Paper, UPM-Kymmene Corporation, Frontline and Marketforce.

The company has a turnover of about £120 million and operate a fleet of 600 trucks and 1,800 trailers. It employs 1,350 people and has depots at Quedgeley, Shepton Mallet, Chepstow, Sharpness, Hardwicke, Tuffley, Runcorn, Manchester, Dunstable, Leeds, Chatham and Tilbury.

EmergeVest has acquired the entire shareholding from the Downton family and will provide additional capital to finance the company’s growth. Heath Zarin, chief executive and managing director of EmergeVest said: “We are excited at the opportunity to bring Downton into the EmergeVest family and to be investing in a business with such significant potential.”

The Downton family will continue to serve in their respective roles as senior management. Managing director Andy Downton said: “The sale of the business has not been taken lightly, however we have always understood the importance of growth and a proper succession plan.

“This business is now ready for fresh energy, vigour and focus. EmergeVest are the correct successors to achieve this. They have a great vision and are building an unrivalled UK network, encompassing freight forwarding, pallet, chilled and now our ambient network.”

Investec Bank has provided an integrated debt package to support the deal.

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