DFDS completes £208m HSF Logistics deal as ICT also added

DFDS has completed the buy-out of HSF Logistics Group, one of Europe’s leading cold chain logistics providers, in a £208 million deal.

The acquisition of the fourth generation Dutch company, which operates from South Killingholme and Great Blakenham, Suffolk in the UK, with interests in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, was agreed in January.

It specialises in supporting meat and other food producers in the temperature-controlled sphere, employing more than 1,800 people, with revenues of £321 million.

Read more:John Good Group’s £77m logistics business bought out in major deal

Torben Carlsen, chief executive of DFDS, said: “I am very pleased to welcome all HSF employees to the DFDS Group. Our customer offering to a wide range of food producers is now enhanced significantly. Our dialogue since agreeing to join forces in January, has confirmed this is a great match.”

DFDS said the acquisition significantly strengthens cold chain activities and the offering to cold chain logistics customers, with the company having acquired major seafood-sector operator Quayside, in Grimsby, seven years ago. It will reorganise the logistics division – where turnover increases to more than £900 million – into two business units, dry goods and cold chain – the latter embracing UK and Ireland, Nordic and Continent operations.

Full consolidation takes place immediately.

Martin Gade Gregersen, chief executive of HSF, becomes head of cold chain with DFDS, joining the executive management team in the process.

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Having previously anticipated covering the buy-out over three years, integration has been speeded up with £106 million paid now, and the remainder set for October 6. Minority shareholdings have also been acquired for a further £6.6 million.

The transaction was approved by the EU Commission last week.

It comes as DFDS also acquired Danish freight forwarding company ICT Logistics.

It has offices in Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and the UK, with a fleet of 600 trailers and 20 trucks. A total of 80 people are employed by the £30 million turnover operation.

DFDS had owned almost 20 per cent of the shareholding since 2003, having invested six years after ICT launched.

The move is described as strengthening and developing DFDS’ eastern European position.

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