Europa livery

Europa Worldwide Group has been acquired by the former joint owner of RH Freight, Andrew Baxter – who takes a 90% controlling stake in the international operator.

It marks a return to the industry for the former deputy managing director at RH Freight, which was sold to Kuehne + Nagel in March 2011.

He replaces current owners Andrew Kennedy, Grenville Turner and Russell Keep, the latter of which will remain with Europa as group finance director, purchasing a 10% share in the company.

Kennedy, Turner and Keep have been owners of Europa since January 2007 when they led and MBO.

Baxter said he had no plans to change the name at the operator, and that staff numbers are planned to rise in the near future due to further investment in the business.

“I have spent some time looking for the right opportunity and am very excited about the potential here at Europa, said Baxter.

“The company has an excellent reputation and a good track record and I want to build the business to become the clearly recognised, number one groupage operator in the UK.  I also believe the company has great potential outside of its European operations, in air, ocean and logistics, and we will be looking at what we can do to further develop these businesses.”

He added that it would be “business as usual” for the next few months and he had plans to invest £1.5m in new IT infrastructure. Baxter also believed that Europa’s branch network could be “boosted further” with other new sites to give “a denser coverage of the UK”.

In the financial year ending 31 December 2012 turnover at the Palletline member rose to £72.7m, from £68m in the previous 12 months. Pre-tax profit fell from £1.5m to £411,825 due to £1.6m being spent on the set-up of its new 155,000ft² facilities in Birmingham.

However since the site has been operational Europa said it had won some “significant logistics contracts” – alongside signing partnership deals in the Spanish, Portuguese and Scandinavian markets.

Turner said: “We’re very pleased that Andrew has acquired the business and the excellent team here at Europa will give him the opportunity to grow and develop it further,” while Kennedy added: “He has a proven track record in our industry. A key factor for us is that the company will remain independent.”