Gregory Distribution (Holdings)’s largest purchase to date, ARR Craib Transport, creates a £200m-plus turnover group, but it was the Scottish haulier’s regional focus that made the deal so attractive.

Speaking to MT, John Gregory, MD of Gregory Distribution, said the purchase had been in the pipeline since ARR Craib’s chief executive Eddie Anderson appointed a representative to market the business in the fourth quarter of last year.

Gregory was instantly interested. “I like its regionality, its strong presence in specialist sectors and its excellent reputation,” he said. He added that the acquisition had a “lot of activity that interfaces with our own”.

The group’s previous largest buy, at less than half the size of ARR Craib, was Framptons Transport Services in 2015. The addition of ARR Craib, which has its headquarters in Aberdeen and had a turnover close to £50m in its latest published accounts, leaves Gregory Distribution (Holdings) knocking on the door of the top 20 largest operators in the UK, as featured every year in the Motor Transport Top 100.

However, Gregory pointed out that the group’s main engine room for growth in recent years had been organic, and although the business has its roots in the south-west, it is now a UK-wide concern with depots in Exeter, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham and Doncaster. He added that the group would look to consolidate what it has rather than make further purchases.

Read more

ARR Craib, which has its headquarters in Aberdeen and operations in Cumbernauld, Stockton and Great Yarmouth, will continue to run as a separate business within the group in the same vein as its joint-venture with Hayton Coultard.

Anderson will continue to run the business.

ARR Craib was set up 50 years ago serving the paper industry and developed as a supplier to the oil and gas industries. Today it runs the Scottish hub for Palletline and counts the likes of Baxters, Walkers and Brew Dog as customers.

Eddie Anderson said: “As two private, like-minded, companies operating in similar sectors it seemed an excellent opportunity for Craib to become part of a larger organisation. We feel comfortable with the arrangement and look forward to Craib prospering beside Gregory.”