UK hauliers vulnerable to takeover

London, UK: Further mergers and acquisitions among UK haulage companies are predicted by a report from analyst Plimsoll Publishing. The study warns that a combination of available cash, difficult growth, low interest rates and ageing directors has left at least 75 companies ripe for acquisition.

David Pattison, senior analyst at Plimsoll says: “On one hand, 71 cash-rich companies have been stockpiling money and their problem is that the built-up cash could give them a real headache.

“Low interest rates mean this cash will be sitting idle on the balance sheet and not generating a return. It really needs to be put to good use and an acquisition seems an obvious option.”

Plimsoll’s reports highlights:

  • most 31% of directors will be over 60 by the end of the year
  • 71 companies have more than £5 million in cash on their balance sheet
  • 299 firms are still operating as independents
  • 37% of organisations did not increase in sales
  • One in four companies is running at a loss
  • 292 of the 1000 businesses analysed have seen their debts increase.

Pattison says there are 75 businesses in the road haulage market that are are showing classic acquisition criteria.  “They are all declining in financial strength, many have an aging board and are still privately owned.

“These companies will need the support of their current owners or investment to ensure they have a future and many have acquisition potential. Given the circumstances, it’s quite possible that perhaps some of the directors will be looking to retire or even consider a sale.”

The Plimsoll Analysis includes a profile of each of the UK’s top 1,000 road haulage companies.

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