French logistics group takes major stake in Yorkshire transport business

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A LEADING French logistics group has swooped for a majority stake in an East Yorkshire transport company.

European logistics provider Groupe Charles Andre (GCA) has acquired a 75% stake in Simon Gibson Transport in a deal brokered by Yorkshire advisers.

With bases spread across the UK and operating throughout Europe, the company is a specialist in bulk powder transport, handling and storage. It was founded 16 years ago by Simon Gibson with a single truck and has grown to a fleet of 94 vehicles, delivering more than 2,000,000 tons per annum throughout Europe.

The firm employs 138 staff and two years ago it extended its Goole headquarters with the acquisition of an adjacent site enabling it to expand its operation with the addition of a 35,000sq ft warehouse, new offices and driver training facilities.

GCA is a family business that has grown into one of Europe’s leading logistics providers. Based in Montelimar, France, it was founded in 1932 and now operates in 15 countries. GCA has over 4,500 drivers and has expertise in the fields of chemical products, hydrocarbons, construction and dry-bulk products.

Simon Gibson Transport was advised by Leeds corporate lawyers Jonathan Simms and Rachael Stockley of Clarion. Corporate finance advice was provided by Roger Esler and Paul Herriott of Dow Schofield Watts. Nasim Sharf of Rollits in Hull provided legal advice to GCA.

“Following the recession, we diversified our business, widening our customer base from the construction industry to target a number of other sectors and consequently we’ve seen significant growth over the last eight years,” said Mr Gibson, who continues in his role as managing director of the company.

“Joining forces with a major European operator like GCA will enable us to build on this success and take the business to a new level. GCA has a strong reputation in France and operates a large range of products. The aim is to share this knowhow with Simon Gibson to enable the company to develop. We believe we share the same values, making this an ideal fit.”

Mr Simms of Clarion, said: “Having worked with Simon Gibson since 2009, we’ve seen its impressive growth first hand; it’s a great example of a resilient Yorkshire business which has proved able to adapt to new market conditions and has flourished as a result.

“Simon has been able to retain equity in the business he has created whilst also benefitting from the financial muscle provided as part of a leading European group, enabling the business to tender for larger contracts and continue to grow, giving it a brighter and more secure future.”

Mr Esler of DSW added: “We set out to identify a strategic partner for Simon Gibson Transport that would support its continuing growth and development. GCA and Simon share a vision for the business and the deal has been creatively structured to reflect this.”

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