Speedy Freight announces BGF investment to drive further growth

Mike Smith
X The Business Desk

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Following a year of record growth, Knutsford-based national courier company Speedy Freight has announced investment from BGF, the UK’s most active growth capital investor, to accelerate its ambitious expansion plans.

Over the past decade, Speedy Freight has grown year-on-year, and now provides dedicated same-day courier services to every postcode in the UK. The brand has more than 8,500 customers, and supports multiple industries with deliveries across the UK and abroad.

In the last year alone, Speedy Freight grew by 39%, partly due to the increased demand for logistics support caused by COVID-19. As such, the brand feels the time is right for a bold expansion, supported by new long-term investor BGF.

BGF has invested £2.5bn in nearly 400 companies since launching in 2011 and has a portfolio across all sectors and regions of the UK.

A long term minority investor, the team has built a successful track record of supporting ambitious businesses through periods of supercharged growth. In 2020, BGF backed 61 companies, investing a total of £384m over the course of the year. BGF’s investment into Speedy Freight will support the business’s growth and ambitious plans for many years to come.

After many years of consistent growth supported by the Speedy Freight founders, Mike Le-Gallez and Ian Southworth, as well as corporate shareholder GreenWhiteStar Acquisitions, Speedy Freight managing director Mike Smith will be increasing his stake to become the majority shareholder alongside operations director John Munnelly, with BGF taking a significant minority shareholding.

The transition from GreenWhiteStar Aquisitions to BGF as investors will be smooth for both Speedy Freight customers and franchisees, with the partnership causing no changes in franchise agreements or customer contracts.

Matt Widdall is an investor in BGF’s North West team and will join the board as part of the deal. Rick Francis also joins as a non-executive director and is currently chairman of Tivoli, and previously CEO at Lex Autolease, where he spent more than 10 years and grew the business significantly during his tenure.

Mike Smith said: “We’ve worked incredibly hard as a brand over the last decade to sustain our year-on-year growth, however, now it’s time for something even more bold.

“Our core offering of agile, reliable, and trustworthy courier services will remain unchanged, but the new funding will allow us to invest in both driver training and the expansion of our fleet, allowing us take on even larger clients in new and exciting industries.”

He added: “I’d like to extend our well wishes to founders Mike Le-Gallez and Ian Southworth for their fantastic tenacity and recognise their achievement in creating the foundations to build this successful operation across the UK and Europe.”

Matt Widdall, investor at BGF in the North West, said: “Speedy Freight has a created a clear point of difference in the market through the business’s unparalleled high service levels, responsiveness and national network capability. We’re delighted to be backing an extremely capable management team and ambitious network of franchisees to support their combined growth targets.

“Supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, but Speedy Freight simplifies this with efficient courier services, supported by investment in technology, that give its customers a competitive advantage. The business is ideally placed to expand its market share and support its fast growing customers meet market demand.”

As part of the brand’s development plans over the coming years, the investment from BGF will also help to fund new training and development opportunities for drivers and franchisees in every area of the UK.

Ali Sharifi, at Avicap, and Johnathan Watkins from DLA Piper, advised the vendor. BGF was advised by Knights (legals), Andy Pearson at Waypoint (financial due diligence) and Hurst (tax).

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