NorthEdge has announced that it has completed the sale of Abbey Logistics Group (Abbey), a specialist logistics provider, to Belgium based food logistics specialist Sitra Group (Sitra).

Established in 1962, Sitra is a family-owned business with a 2022 turnover of 165 million euros, employing over 1,150 people across 11 countries, including the UK. They operate 700 owned trucks and over 2,000 trailers/containers including liquid and powder food tankers. Abbey is a UK based specialist logistics provider, specialising mainly in the food industry, with a turnover of GBP 75m employing close to 600 people and operating 325 trucks and 550 trailers.

The exit was led out of the Manchester office by Jon Pickering, Partner and CIO, and Dan Matkin, Director, alongside the Abbey management team. The deal represents the seventh exit from NorthEdge Fund II, following a strong partnership with management.

During the investment period we supported the business to build out the senior leadership team, with the appointment of MD, CFO and Sales Director; complete three strategic acquisitions, increasing geographical coverage and expanding the fleet; invest in its people and professionalise the operations. As a result, the business has grown revenues and market share, alongside maintaining market-leading margins and outstanding customer service levels.

Jon Pickering, Partner and Chief Investment Officer at NorthEdge commented:

“We are proud to see Abbey joining forces with Sitra, another market-leading business with a strong commercial and cultural fit. Throughout our partnership management have worked tirelessly to build a high-quality leadership team, retain and grow a blue-chip customer base, continuously improve operational efficiencies and develop a market-leading approach to talent attraction and retention to support scale. Abbey is now well positioned for future growth as part of Sitra, continuing to deliver world-class service to its customers, and we wish the whole team the best of luck in their next chapter.”

Steve Granite, former CEO and current Executive Chair of Abbey Logistics, added:

“Since our MBO we have successfully transformed Abbey from a £45m turnover family business to a £75m market leader and refocussed the business on its core strengths as a specialist tanker operator in the UK. We are proud of how the business has grown not just in revenue but in market share and maturity to become the UK’s leading food tanker operator. With the unwavering support of NorthEdge and a great working relationship between the Board and the investors, the business is now in great shape, and I am delighted to see it end up in the ownership of another family-owned business in Sitra who will undoubtedly develop the business & its people even further.”

The exit of Abbey is another great example of NorthEdge delivering on its mission of building better businesses and builds on the momentum of the last twelve months, following the exit of Future Industrial Services, the partial exit and reinvestment into Cloud Technology Solutions and the investment into Cezanne, alongside a number of portfolio bolt-on acquisitions to accelerate growth.

NorthEdge was advised by KPMG (Corporate Finance – Christian Mayo, Mark Booth, Gary Chiang) and DWF (Legals – Jonathan Robinson, Katy Philips, Eleanor Chatterton)

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