Great Bear Distribution delivered a stellar performance in the final financial year before Culina Group bought it in March.

For the year to 31 December 2015, the Chester-based distribution and storage company reported an 8.2% turnover rise to £152.5m (2014: £141m) with pre-tax profit up 9.9% to £11.1m (2014: £10.1m) in the same period.

In its strategic report the board attributed the company’s growth to its long-standing relationships with its customers and exceptional levels of service. It added that Great Bear had a healthy pipeline of new business enquiries, which it predicted would continue to
drive growth.

The company, which has more than 1,700 staff, was bought by food and drink logistics specialist Culina Group, in a move aimed at expanding Culina’s ambient logistics business.

The deal saw Culina add Great Bear’s 200-plus fleet of vehicles, 4 million ft² of warehousing and 32 DCs to its business.

Culina Group CEO Thomas van Mourik said: “With the acquisition of Great Bear earlier this year Culina Group is now a £400m business and a massive nationwide operation employing more than 5,000 people.

“Great Bear and Culina are complementary, two strong organisations with great reputations. We are benefiting from synergies and efficiencies and are improving our service offer to customers even further.”

Great Bear customers include Unilever, Ideal Standard, BMW, Michelin, Premier Foods and Sainsbury’s.