CMA CGM Secures £765m Takeover of British Milk Distributor, Wincanton

Source: The DairyNews
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In a significant business move, the century-old British milk distributor, Wincanton, founded in 1925 as part of the West Surrey Central Dairy Company, has been acquired by the French shipping giant CMA CGM in a £765m takeover. CMA CGM, owned by billionaire Rodolphe Saade and his family, who are estimated to be worth $9.8bn (£7.7bn), will control the operations of Wincanton.
CMA CGM Secures £765m Takeover of British Milk Distributor, Wincanton
The £765m acquisition represents a substantial 52 percent premium to Wincanton's share price. Wincanton, originally established to transport milk, has evolved over the years, becoming a key player in the UK supply chain. The company's core business includes not only milk delivery but also warehousing and transportation services for major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Argos, Morrisons, and Waitrose.

Upon completion of the deal, Wincanton will exit the London Stock Exchange, marking a significant shift in the logistics industry landscape as major players withdraw from public listings. James Wroth, CEO of Wincanton, expressed optimism about the acquisition, stating that it will allow the company to continue and accelerate its progress by exploring new growth opportunities with a financially robust partner.

Wincanton, with its distinctive blue and white lorries on UK motorways, employs 20,000 people in the UK, including 5,000 drivers, and manages over 16 million square feet of warehouse space. The acquisition by CMA CGM, through its subsidiary Service Logistics, adds Wincanton to the list of independent logistics firms that have recently undergone acquisition, including Clipper Logistics and DX Group.

CMA CGM, the world's third-largest container line, has a rich history, originating from the merger of Compagnie Maritime d’Affrétement (CMA) and Compagnie Générale Transatlantic in 1999. The company, with a sleek headquarters in Marseille designed by architect Zaha Hadid, is making strategic moves in the logistics sector.

Wincanton, which started as a subsidiary of Cow & Gate, gained prominence in the 1950s with an agreement with the Milk Marketing Board for farm collection of milk. While its roots are in milk transportation, the company's diversified services include shipping products for brands like Arla and Freshways under its "Bulk Liquid Transport Solutions" offering.

Despite recently losing a milk delivery contract with Muller, Wincanton remains a formidable player in the logistics industry, boasting a turnover of £1.5bn and pre-tax profits of £62m in its latest financial results. The acquisition by CMA CGM positions Wincanton for potential growth and exploration of new avenues in the evolving logistics landscape.
Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith
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Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
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February 2024
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