Wincanton pulls out of Europe with £64m disposal

Chippenham, UK: Wincanton distribution group has offloaded its entire mainland European interests to German transport company Rhenus in a €74m (£64.2m) cash deal.

Wincanton had built up the European operation to include 38 distribution depots across Germany and 30 in France. The German operation included a major intermodal (road, rail and river) base in the North-Rhine area of Germany. In total the business employs around 3,000 people.

The business made an operating profit of approximately €4.1m on revenues of around €558m in the 12 months to March 31. Gross assets were approximately €181m.

Rhenus is paying €44m with an additional €30m to pay off the pension deficit. The disposal is subject to anti-trust clearance and the approval of Wincanton shareholders. Proceeds of the sale will be used to reduce group debt.

Wincanton chief executive 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.”

Wincanton shares rose rose 8% or 8p to 103p on the LSE after it announced the disposal of its remaining operations in mainland Europe.

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