Abbey Logistics Group is to reboot its expansion strategy following a “self-imposed” pause on growth during 2015.

It is back on the acquisition trail looking to expand in mainland Europe, or enter the UK chemical transportation market, having secured £13.5m of funding from HSBC.

Two-time MT Haulier of the Year winner has also set itself the target of reaching £70m of turnover by 2020.

The Bootle-based operator has grown from £18m in financial year 2009 to £45m turnover for the year ending June 2015.

Steve Granite, MD at Abbey, said: “Our business has grown 150% in five years during which time we will have inevitably overlooked some lower margin business and over-compensated in staffing as we sought to keep a pace with our expansion. It was typical growing pains for an organisation like ours.”

He described last year as a short, self-imposed pause on expansion and added that the year ending June 2015 would show a profit margin of 2% “which was adversely impacted by the Seafield implementation process” when official accounts are published at Companies House.

During 2014, Abbey Logistics paid £187,000 to acquire the majority of collapsed haulier Seafield’s bulk powder operation, taking on operations at Winsford, Middlewich and Immingham as well as boosting its fleet by 47 trucks and 57 powder tanks.

Granite added: “The business is in great shape financially following the consolidation period and we are now putting plans in place to grow the business towards our next goal, which is £70m turnover and £2.75m profit by June 2020.”

On choosing HSBC for funding, Granite said he was impressed with the bank’s “appetite to support our ambitions”, which alongside competitive pricing, was key to Abbey agreeing the deal.