Bibby Distribution Completes Major Logistics Acquisition

Bibby Distribution, owner or reusable packaging management business PLS, has further enhanced its service portfolio with the purchase of Atchison Topeka – a specialist logistics provider for the food manufacturing industry. It is a deal that will further strengthen the business by establishing a significant presence in this niche market, increasing annual turnover by £26 million.

The purchase comes in the wake of three record trading years for Bibby Distribution which has seen it grow year-on-year through acquisition, organic development and a firm commitment to continuous improvement initiatives with new and existing customers.

“There were a number of key reasons that attracted us to Atchison Topeka,” said Iain Speak, Chief Executive Officer of Bibby Distribution. “We saw the opportunity to offer an increased range of services to our customers whilst realising further strategic growth for our own business.”

“Our status as a private company allows us to take a long term view and enables us to establish strong customer relationships. We are continually seeking ways to add value to their supply chains and evolve our operations in line with their changing requirements.”

Worcester-based Atchison Topeka will continue to trade under its strong brand and ensure the continuation of services to its extensive blue chip customer base.

Bibby Distribution believes there is additional opportunity to grow the business by building on the strong foundations put in place by Atchison Topeka and by leveraging the benefits of its large logistics customer and infrastructure base.

“This new sector of the business, providing bespoke logistics services to the food manufacturing sector, is a natural fit with our existing operations enabling us to offer a truly nationwide food ingredient supply chain capability,” added Speak.

In addition, Bibby is confident that its returnable packaging business, PLS – which services the food manufacturing, beverage and food can industries – can also be developed. This service offers a hygienic and environmentally friendly alternative to wooden pallets that ensures the quality of products supplied. A further benefit to an industry in which product integrity is key.

The provision of temperature controlled road tankers, palletised distribution, warehousing, IBC decanting and promotional re-packing will be maintained by the existing workforce of 170 employees. Managing Director, Mike Phillips and Operations Director, Darren Cronshaw, will continue to provide strong leadership and direction.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mike Phillips said: “We look forward to moving the business to the next level which will now be possible as part of a larger infrastructure. We are confident that with the new backing we will be able to give our existing customers access to a wider range of services without losing any of the focus on quality management, which has been one of the cornerstones of our success. It will also provide the opportunity to expand the food ingredients network to new customers in wider geographic locations.”

The acquisition includes two warehousing facilities with a combined footprint of more than 150,000 sq. feet. These facilities are approved to the British Retail Consortium food manufacturing standards and include tank washing and clean room facilities.

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