South West Business: NFT Distribution strengthens market position with buy-out
of transport group

Jul 22 2016

Chilled food transport specialist NFT Distribution Group has acquired Camarthenshire-based NR Evans in a deal that values the company at more than £20m.

The transaction includes integrated debt funding of up to £13m provided by Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance, and represents the third acquisition in the UK logistics market during the last 12 months by Hong Kong-based private equity investor EmergeVest.

With a group turnover of more than £200m and a combined workforce of over 3,000, NFT Distribution Group, which has a large depot at Patchway, has significantly strengthened its market leading position in the provision of time critical logistics services.

David Frankish, CEO of Derbyshire-based NFT, said:"We are extremely proud to welcome NR Evans into the NFT Group and believe that the combination will not only create a considerable increase in scale, reach, and infrastructure, but also – combined with the capability of our people, recently augmented by the recruitment of new board members with specialist skills – results in the emergence of NFT as a business with an increased international focus on grocery supply chains."

Heath Zarin, managing director of EmergeVest, said NFT was well placed to expand its UK and overseas markets following the acquisition of the NR Evans Group, combined with the opening of a huge new fully-chilled warehouse on the quayside at Tilbury plus the opening of an international office in Shanghai.

He added: "We are very excited about NFT's domestic and international growth prospects and ability to provide an ever-expanding suite of leading edge services. This acquisition will not be our last and demonstrates EmergeVest's confidence in the UK market as an investment proposition post Brexit."

The name NR Evans is to remain. Its founder Neil Evans said: "Having developed the NR Evans brand over a number of years I am extremely proud of what we have created, and I believe strongly in the potential of the combined NFT Group, and in our people who deliver service excellence day in day out to our customers. In NFT we have found a like-minded business that places the customer at the heart of what we do."

The acquisition strengthens the NFT Group's service offering in a number of rapidly developing areas including chill, ambient and milk in the fast moving consumer goods supply chain and takes the total number of strategically located UK distribution centres to 17, following the addition of the nine facilities operated by the NR Evans business.

In the coming weeks the Group will finalise the details of the acquisition with the primary aim of ensuring that all customers continue to benefit from best in class levels of service.
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