Menzies Distribution Van

Logistics and delivery firm Menzies Distribution has strengthened its hold on the Irish market with the purchase of Irish news and magazine wholesaler, EM News Distribution.

Under the terms of the £5.46m deal, Menzies Distribution has increased its existing 50% interest in the company to 100%, buying out the remaining half of the operator held by Irish retailer Eason.

EM News Distribution’s 193 staff join Menzies Distribution along with 44 directly-owned vehicles from a fleet of 201.

Menzies has a working fleet of 1,600 vehicles and a staff of 3,500.

This is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Menzies Distribution. The firm purchased distributors AJG Parcels in June 2015, Oban Express in November 2015 and Thistle Couriers in February 2016.

Menzies is also building its portfolio of retail logistics contracts. These include a three-year national contract for WH Smith’s national network of 1,200 stores, and a UK-wide contract with catering equipment supplier Nisbets.

Menzies Distribution finance director Paul McCourt said: “Taking full control of EM News Distribution gives us the opportunity to bring our full expertise to bear on serving the newstrade sector across Ireland.

"It also provides us with a similar platform to explore new logistics services in Ireland, similar to the approach we have been taking across Scotland, England and Wales.”

EM News Distribution has depots in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Urlingford, Galway, Limerick and Londonderry and also operates out of Waterford, Wexford, Kildare, Dundalk Mullingar, Longford and Tralee.

The deal comes as DX’s attempt to acquire Menzies Distribution for £60m, is facing strong opposition from DX activist investor Gatemore Capital Management, which last week almost doubled its DX Group shareholding to 21%.

Gartmore has claimed another 28% of DX shareholders are against the acquisition, taking it [in combination] above the 30% threshold needed to stop the deal.