Wincanton shares soar on rival takeover approach as CEVA Logistics ups bid

  • Wincanton’s customers include Primark, Ikea, Sainsbury’s and BAE Systems
  • CEVA Logistics has made a revised £4.80 per share takeover bid for Wincanton

A bidding war for Wincanton is on the cards after the logistics provider revealed it had received a separate takeover approach.

Wincanton shares soared on Monday as it told shareholders the group had provided due diligence information to help the unnamed party decide whether to make a formal takeover offer.

However, the company’s bosses are unanimously advising shareholders to support a revised £4.80 per share bid from CEVA Logistics, a subsidiary of French shipping giant CMA CGM.

Delivery giant: Founded nearly a century ago, Wincanton operates around 8,500 vehicles that deliver a vast range of consumer goods across the UK

Wincanton shares jumped 11.25 per cent to 499.5p on Monday morning following the announcement, making them the FTSE All-Share Index’s biggest riser. 

The latest proposal values Wincanton at an enterprise value of £802.7million, a £37.8million increase on CEVA’s previous offer, which the two businesses agreed on last month.

When the prior deal was revealed, CEVA said it was a ‘unique opportunity’ to expand across the UK and gain ‘complementary grocery and consumer expertise.’ 

Founded nearly a century ago, Wincanton operates around 8,500 vehicles that deliver a vast range of consumer goods across the UK, including food, fuel, industrial equipment, and building materials.

Its customers comprise some of Britain’s most prominent retailers, such as Primark, Ikea, Asda and Sainsbury’s, as well as manufacturers like BAE Systems, British Sugar and Tata Chemicals.

In its most recent trading update, the Wiltshire-based group reported that revenue in the quarter ending December rose 1.3 per cent despite difficult market conditions.

Wincanton told investors: ‘There can be no certainty that an offer by the potential competing bidder will be made for the company, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made.

‘Accordingly, shareholders are advised to take no action at this time with regard to the approach by the potential competing bidder.’

CMA-CGM is one of the world’s largest shipping operators, with about 155,000 staff, a presence across over 160 countries, and a turnover of $47billion last year.

Its proposed acquisition of Wincanton comes amidst a flurry of foreign businesses taking advantage of discounted valuations and a weaker pound to snap up London-listed firms on the cheap.

Companies bought by overseas owners in the past couple of years include Dechra Pharmaceuticals, fashion brand Ted Baker, supermarket chain Morrisons, and Hotel Chocolat, which was acquired by confectionery giant Mars.