28 March 2008 | Paul Snell
Transport and logistics business Stobart Group is to buy a competitor.
The company, well known for its Eddie Stobart trucks, is to pay £59.9 million for James Irlam & Sons. The Irlam group provides logistics, warehousing and packing for customers including Coca Cola, Britvic, Johnson & Johnson and Pedigree. Although Irlam is primarily one of Stobart's rivals, they also carry out subcontracted work for the group.
The deal includes a payment of £36.2 million cash, £10 million shares and £13.7 million of loan notes. Following the acquisition, the group will operate more than 1,300 trucks and 2,300 trailers.
Stobart said it was making the purchase to increase its customers and improve relationships. As a result of the deal the enlarged group now plans to target contracts worth more than £10 million.
The business has also taken up the option to purchase Carlisle Airport for £15 million, allowing it to develop an air-freight business. Land around the airport will be used to create a logistics centre for the firm. The group currently operates six sites in north -west England, which it plans to consolidate into one location.