Evri is being prepared for a £2bn sale, according to reports, with majority shareholder Advent International appointing advisers to explore options for the parcel delivery group.
According to national media reports, US equity giant Advent International, which holds a 75% stake in Evri, is working with Rothschild advisers on its options for the business, which could be valued at around £2bn, including debt.
Evri, which was founded in 1974 as the delivery network of the Grattan catalogue, has around 20,000 self-employed drivers and employs almost 7,700 staff at its head offices and warehouses. The group has experienced exponential growth over the past five years, tripling its size, sometimes at the cost of Yodel.
The impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns, which turbocharged internet shopping, saw Evri sales soar. The courier currently has an 18% share of the UK market, delivering 720 million parcels a year in total. In 2022 it paid out a record £762m dividend to shareholders.
However, the impact of the Ukraine War, combined with the cost of living crisis, rising inflation, an industry skills shortage and a return to high street shopping have all taken their toll.
In the year to 25 February 2023, the parcel delivery giant saw revenue flatline at £1.464m (2022: £1.465m) while pre-tax profit tumbled by 56% to £51m (2022: £117m).
In addition, net debt has risen almost tenfold to £1.3bn under Advent’s ownership, boosted by higher interest costs. It is now six times Evri’s underlying profits.
Like Yodel, Evri has also struggled to deliver on customer service. In 2023, a MoneySavingExpert survey ranked Evri as the worst parcel delivery firm in the UK, ahead of Yodel, despite Evri having delivered 98% of next-day deliveries on time and 99% of standard deliveries on time.
A request for comment from Evri has yet to receive a response.