Culina Group has acquired Great Bear Distribution for an undisclosed sum, effective from today (1 March) in a move that significantly expands the ambient network of the temperature-controlled specialist.

The two businesses said that together it would have a combined turnover of some £400m, with Culina contributing £240m to that total (incorporating its Integrated Packing Services subsidiary and its 50% joint venture CML Fulfilment and Logistics) and Great Bear contributing £150m.

In the most recent set of accounts filed at Companies House Culina reported for the year-ending 31 December 2014 a turnover of £162.8m and a pre-tax profit of £5m. In the same reporting period Great Bear saw turnover of £143m and made a pre-tax profit of £10.1m. As a result the businesses ranked 27th and 32nd in the Motor Transport Top 100 2015.

Culina also said that the combined workforce would be some 5,000 staff; it would have some 7.5m ft² of warehousing and a combined fleet of 600 vehicles. Adding Great Bear’s network of 32 distribution centres to Culina gives the combined business a total of 50 throughout the country.

Great Bear at night

Culina chief executive Thomas van Mourik said: “Great Bear and Culina are absolutely complementary businesses, two strong organisations with great reputations, two like-minded companies with similar cultures. This is an excellent fit which is going to be fantastic for staff and for clients.

“We are acquiring some excellent contracts, facilities and people. This move significantly expands our ambient network and will enable us to benefit from synergies and efficiencies that will improve our service offering to customers even further.”

The Great Bear brand name will be retained, said Great Bear chief executive Glenn Lindfield: “The Great Bear board believes this move makes strong commercial sense. The combining of our two businesses will create major opportunities for significantly growing our market share.”