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Logistics M&A activity rises in H1, BDO finds

Some 32 deals completed from January to the end of June 2023, up from 29 in H2 2022

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Transaction volumes in the UK logistics and supply chain management sector rose by over 10% in the first half of 2023, despite a lack of “big ticket” deals, BDO has found.

Some 32 deals completed from January to the end of June 2023, up from 29 in H2 2022, and following a “slow start” to the year in Q1, activity rebounded with 19 transactions completed in Q2.

Despite the increase in activity, BDO noted the disclosed deal value fell “significantly”, as smaller deals dominated the market.

Such deals included the acquisition of Runcorn-based Maltacourt Global Logistics by Netherlands headquartered Janssen Group, backed by Waterland Private Equity; Shift Group’s acquisition of the brand, IP and selected assets of St Helens-based Tuffnells, following the collapse into insolvency of the ‘Big Green Parcel Machine’; the acquisition of Independent Logistics Solutions by Burnley-based EFS Global; the acquisition of York-based Peter Holmes Haulage by Macclesfield’s I H Jordan Transport Ltd; and Durham-based Hargreaves Services’ acquisition of Greenford Haulage and Aggregates Ltd.

Jason Whitworth, M&A partner at BDO LLP, said: “Following a slow start to the year, deal volumes rebounded in Q2, indicating a continued appetite for consolidation and investment in technology. The low disclosed deal value reflects a raft of smaller, lower value deal completions, compared to ‘big ticket’ transactions, highlighting a continued nervousness in the market to commit to larger investments given uncertainty in valuing future earnings.

Tech enablement and ESG certainly dominated equity investment interest this quarter, with venture capital backing four logistics tech businesses encompassing zero-emission delivery services, supply chain decarbonisation, data analytics solutions and workflow productivity. As markets settle, and with more sustained stability, we anticipate growing confidence in pricing which will unlock more transactions over the coming year.”

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