RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


JF Hillebrand in strategic purchase

UK drinks industry specialist freight forwarder JF Hillebrand UK has strengthened its capability to provide dedicated wine and beverage logistics services with the strategic acquisition of another UK specialist beverage forwarder, ABV Logistics. James Graham reports

The acquisition, terms of which have not been disclosed, brings ABV Logistics’ strengths in the Iberian peninsula and Italy to the JF Hillebrand UK network to complement the new owner’s existing services, says David Mawer, JF Hillebrand UK managing director.

He says: “I am glad that we have been able to acquire ABV Logistics. They could have been bought by a global general forwarder and ABV’s specialist drinks industry skills could have been lost. Feedback from our clients and the market has been absolutely positive.”

The acquisition will see ABV Logistics’ base in Wickford, Essex close and staff move to JF Hillebrand UK’s West Thurrock offices. ABV directors, Gary Gordon and Daniel Morris, will join the JF Hillebrand UK board whilst Alan Steele has left the company for personal reasons.

The two businesses will continue to operate as normal and all customer contacts remain unchanged.

ABV was formed as recently as March, 2003 and has around 13% of the volume of traffic JF Hillebrand moves. ABV clients will have access to bonded facilities utilised by JF Hillebrand UK giving the new acquisition improved storage capacity as well as the wider Hillebrand group.

Mawer says: “ABV had started to explore supply chain management, means of maintaining integrity and stock levels. They can now benefit from our scale of operations. One exciting opportunity for their volume is access to the Wine Train. This is running at levels of 98% efficiency at present.”

Up scaling needed
Mawer is pleased that the opportunity arose to acquire a key UK freight forwarder with drinks industry know-how.

JF Hillebrand UK does not acquire companies “for the sake of it,” says Mawer, adding the company moves only when the appropriate company can bring suitable or complementary business activity to the company.

He says: “There is no way that this is a distress sale on the part of ABV. They had done very well, and were continuing to work well, since their foundation in 2002. They were working to up scale their operations and the owners wanted to exit the company for personal reasons.

“The purchase process started in October last year with serious talks. The speed of the transaction reflected on the strengths and skills of the management which meant due diligence was straightforward.”

Gary Gordon of ABV says: “ABV Logistics has swiftly gained a reputation for skill and personal service and the acquisition by JF Hillebrand UK will ensure that our customers enjoy the benefits of a range of large scale operations of exclusive beverage-only services that give them the edge in the current competitive environment.”


1 January 2010 - Felicity Murray