Fri, 17 Nov 2023 | BUSINESS SALE
J R Harding & Sons, a temperature-controlled warehouse and distribution company based in Somerset, has been acquired by a group with a significant presence across Europe. CubeCold Europe, which is headquartered in Rotterdam, has acquired the business in a deal that significantly strengthens its UK position.
J R Harding & Sons was founded in 1964 and is based in Frome. The firm runs a 17,000 pallet, temperature-controlled warehouse and has 11 transport units. The company also runs an Iveco truck maintenance operation from its 4.3 acre site.
CubeCold Europe Chief Executive Gerben Paauwe said the acquisition was “an excellent strategic fit that strengthens our position in the UK.” He added: “J R Harding & Sons' reputation and customer relationships complement our own and together we can provide even greater value to customers through an integrated network."
CubeCold Europe was formed in 2021 by I Squared Capital through its ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund III. The company aims to invest up to $350 million acquiring cold storage assets across Europe, saying when it was formed that it had already “identified a substantial pipeline of high-quality acquisition targets.”
At the time, the company stated: “We are looking for additional assets in strategic locations that could benefit from operational optimisation and innovation. For example, as cold storage facilities are high energy users, we plan to install renewables or other on-site generation facilities to ensure resilience, manage costs and lower carbon emissions.”
Since it was formed, the company has built up a portfolio of 17 sites, a capacity of 280,000 pallet positions and a fleet of 76 trucks across the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and the UK.
The company was advised on its latest acquisition by audit and advisory firm Crowe UK’s Midlands corporate finance team, led by director Chasz Coulsting and corporate finance manager Nick Martin. The deal was the second that Crowe has helped CubeCold complete in the UK, following its 2022 acquisition of Pulleyn Transport.
Andy Kay, Crowe partner and Head of Corporate Finance in the Midlands and South West, said: "This cross-border deal follows hot-on-the-heels of a number of other international transactions in which we have played a leading role, most notably the recent multimillion-pound sale of a UK/Middle Eastern-based specialist manufacturer to a North American buyer, giving the buyer a major foothold in territories in which it did not have a presence.”
Going forward, Kay said that Crowe was “anticipating continued overseas interest in UK-based businesses who are looking at their exit plans”, adding that international strategic buyers would take particular interest in firms that are “well-run, have a particular niche and are generally resilient."
The UK was recently ranked as the top destination in Europe for inbound and domestic M&A investment for the second consecutive year
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