Sector News

Stockton’s Imperial Tankers sold to global chemical logistics specialist in £27m deal

September 2, 2014
Chemical Value Chain

Preston Farm company Imperial Tankers employs 300 and is one of the largest bulk chemical transport companies in the UK

Stockton-based Imperial Tankers has been sold to a global chemical logistics specialist in a £27m deal.

Suttons Group bought the company from its parent, AIM-listed Hargreaves Services plc, which is a leading supplier of solid fuels and bulk material logistics based in Durham.

Imperial Tankers, which employs around 300 at its base on Preston Farm Industrial Estate, is one of the largest bulk chemical transport companies in the UK.

Hargreaves Services bought the company in 2007 for £6.3m. It has a road tanker fleet of more than 200 tractor units and 350 tanker semi-trailers, delivering various hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals and other ‘sensitive’ products.

Sutton bosses say the deal reflects the supply chain specialist’s commitment to growth in the bulk logistics and supply chain sector.

John Sutton, Suttons Group CEO said: “This transaction is an ideal fit for Suttons and will enable us to continue to deliver high levels of safety and service, improve efficiency and add value through supply chain resilience and innovation.

“Our joint depot network will enhance our ability to provide an outstanding service to customers in key production regions around the country.

“Our combined fleet of over 700 road tankers gives us an even greater ability to support our customers through times of peak demand and react rapidly to changing customer requirements.”

Hargreaves Services said the disposal of Imperial Tankers is the ‘first step in implementing a new strategy to focus the Group on its core strengths, simplify operations and ensure the business is optimally placed to respond to changes in market conditions’.

Although the tanker operation had grown steadily under Hargreaves’ ownership and has been consistently profitable, bosses said it ‘currently offers limited synergies with other Group operations’ and now falls outside the Group’s core activities.

Imperial generated profit after tax of approximately £1.6m on revenue of £29.7m during the year ended 31 May 2014.

Hargreaves Services’ current activities include the UK’s largest independent coal and coke sourcing and trading operation and the largest portfolio of surface coal mines in the UK.

Gordon Banham, CEO of Hargreaves, said: “Imperial Tankers is a quality business and I would like to commend and thank the staff and management for their hard work and commitment in developing Imperial into one of the strongest tanker brands in the country.”

The acquisition is Suttons’ third in 12 months.

Last October, the company completed the purchase of Chinese transport company Hanchi Logistics, followed by IS Logistics Group, Singapore-based logistics and supply chain specialist, in August.

The acquisition of Imperial Tankers further Suttons has a history of service going back 60 years and is one of the UK’s most successful privately owned specialist logistics companies, with key bases in New Jersey, Houston, Chicago, Widnes, Antwerp, Ludwigshafen, Le Havre, Kuantan, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo and Khobar.

By Kelley Price

Source: Gazette Live

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