Monday, April 26, 2021

Survey Finds Logistics Firms More Open to Buy and Sell Business Interests

Pandemic and Brexit Influence Market
Shipping News Feature

UK – A new survey released by trade group Logistics UK, in partnership with accountancy firm CBW, shows almost a third of industry leaders are more likely to undertake Merger & Acquisition (M&A) activity in Q1 2021 than they were 12 months ago.

UK Logistics Sector M&A Index Q1 2021: Interim Survey Results’ provides an overview on trends in M&A activity, including valuations, and delves into some of the most important issues facing companies in the sector, including Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the industry skills shortage. David Wells, Chief Executive at Logistics UK, commented:

“The past 12 months have placed untold pressures on the logistics sector. 68% of survey respondents say they expect a negative outcome for their business from Brexit and the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU, and just under 50% of business leaders say they are satisfied with the support provided to the UK logistics sector by the government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

”However, M&A activity and company valuation trends are encouraging, 39% of survey respondents say valuations of logistics companies have increased in the past 12 months, a 17% rise on 2020, and 57% say valuations will continue to increase in the next year, a 30% rise on 2020.

“With the ongoing success of the vaccine rollout, and as parts of the economy reopen, industry optimism for the next 12 months among our respondents has increased from the previous survey. And the sector is already thinking proactively about new business models and strategies in response to Brexit. Our findings show that 23% of logistics operators expect to diversify their service offering.

”A successful, resilient logistics industry will be key as the economy reopens and, while many sectors of the economy are yet to fully bounce back, businesses across logistics will provide a good indicator of the health of the nation’s future ambitions for financial growth. As the business group representing the sector, Logistics UK will continue working hard to alleviate any challenges to logistics operations to keep goods moving freely across the UK and further afield.”

So despite all the challenges of the past year or more it appears the world may finally have finally woken up to the value of those who maintain the supply chain. Philip Bird, Partner and Head of Logistics & Corporate Finance at CBW certainly seems to think so, and he said:

“The results of our latest survey suggest that the sector is more optimistic than it was when we undertook our first survey last year and this is reflected in the 23% increase in the M&A Index number. Further consolidation is on the horizon and supported by stronger valuations.

"There is no doubt that the logistics sector has played, and will continue to play, a key role in helping the UK economy and society through the pandemic so far, whether it has been ensuring the availability of food in supermarkets or vaccines at points of delivery, this has increased the attractiveness of logistics companies to other operators and investors.”