Europa Worldwide has outlined an acquisition strategy that would see it target operators, as well as air and sea interests, as MD Andrew Baxter looks to build the “biggest business” he can.
Financed by a combination of profit and borrowing Europa will look at road freight operators with a turnover between £20m and £60m on an annual basis as Baxter adds to a business that, he told MT, had seen turnover rise 25% for the year-ending in May.
Baxter said: “We are looking for companies of between £20m and £60m. We don’t want to do things too small because it is too much of a distraction for the level of turnover. We wouldn’t want to do anything above £60m as it would be too distracting. We would acquire those operators, integrate them and move onto the next acquisition.
“If we do an acquisition we can get to £200m turnover by the end of next year,” he said.
For the year ended 31 December 2016, Europa recorded turnover of £116.4m (2015: £96m). Pre-tax profit also jumped last year, rising to £2.3m from loss of £1.6m in 2015.
Baxter told MT last month that the business was already on-track to finish 2017 with a turnover north of £140m, and that was before the recruitment of 28 new sales people.
“Ideally we would like to do one acquisition per year,” Baxter said. “We are quite open-minded in terms of those acquisitions. We could do something from an air and sea perspective.
"And from a road freight perspective we are interested in acquire regional companies, integrating them into our network, running a daily line into our facility and giving them access to our network.
“There are quite a lot of companies of that nature. We believe this is a model we can replicate.”
Europa now trunks all UK freight into its 290,000ft² hub in Dartford, which it opened in 2015, having closed its previous facilities in Erith and Birmingham.
While caveating the statement by saying “I may be talking rubbish and I might never get anywhere near it” Baxter did say that his hope was to can get Europa’s turnover to £1bn in the UK.
“We might fail at it! But if we get to £200m with a reasonable level of organic growth and acquisitions [by 2018] can we get from £200m to £400m in three or four years? We will see.”
- You can listen to the full interview with Europa’s Andrew Baxter on the Motor Transport podcast.