Xpediator, the freight forwarding group that owns Delamode, has acquired Benfleet Forwarding Ltd for an initial consideration of £6.55 million.
Basildon-based Benfleet turned over £21m last year and made an operating profit of £1.7m. It has offices in Dover and Chelmsford in the UK, Trento in Italy and Ploiesti in Romania.
A further consideration of up to £3.9m in cash might also be payable depending on the future results of Benfleet.
Xpediator chief executive Stephen Blyth said: “We know the Benfleet business well and we are confident it will be a commercially valuable and accretive acquisition for us. Benfleet shares our asset light approach to freight forwarding and will add significantly to our sea freight activities.
“The Benfleet team are well known and highly experienced and we are delighted that Jason Herring, Benfleet’s managing director, will continue to run the business.
“Our client bases are similar but do not have significant overlap and while our services our comparable our geographic focuses are different. There are therefore immediate opportunities to provide greater geographic coverage to both client bases and we have identified duplicated costs.
“Our strategy is to grow not only organically but also by acquiring smaller competing businesses which can enhance the group’s earnings and enhance our services to existing and new clients.”
On completion the enlarged group will operate from five sites in the UK together with 11 offices in Europe and employ more than 650 people.
Benfleet is an asset-light operation that includes road transport and ocean freight shipments, coordinated through offices in Dover and Felixstowe, with services extending across Southern Europe to Italy, Greece, Portugal and Turkey, as well as the Far East and China.
In 2015, Benfleet secured a significant Chinese customer with which it entered into a six-year contract and which Xpediator believes could result in further cross-selling opportunities.