Belfast Telegraph

Haulage firm buys multinational's transport business in major deal

By Margaret Canning

A Co Armagh logistics firm has acquired a chilled goods transport business from DFDS after the multinational restructured its business here.

Family company Manfreight in Portadown operates all over Europe using a 70-strong fleet of trucks, including 64 modern refrigerated vehicles.

It has paid an undisclosed sum for the division of DFDS, which employs 100 people.

The business acquired by Manfreight carries out door-to-door transport of goods between Britain and Ireland.

The Northern Ireland firm, which is led by Chris Slowey, said it was "extremely pleased" with the deal, expected to close on November 1.

A spokesman for Manfreight, which also operates warehouses, said: "Manfreight will continue the current customer, supplier and service contracts.

"This will help ensure a seamless transfer of business and a future good cooperation with customers and suppliers, and we believe this agreement will be to the benefit of customers as well as suppliers and staff.

"DFDS will also provide all necessary support in ensuring a smooth transition of business to Manfreight."

Denmark-based DFDS said it had restructured its logistics activities in Belfast "to focus operations and improve the return on invested capital".

It added: "​The growth and financial performance of the door-door reefer line-haul business between Ireland and Great Britain have in recent years not met expectations and have been loss-making in 2017."

The company said the total revenue of activities subject to the restructuring was "around DKK 250m" (£30m) with the changes leading to an accounting loss of around DKK 10m (£1.2m).

"Going forward, the focus will be on door-door trailer solutions for ambient cargo, mainly covering Northern Ireland and England/Scotland and contract logistics for major retailers," DFDS said. "The restructuring is expected to lead to an improvement of earnings for the activities based in Belfast in 2018."

However, there is no information on what remains of its activities in Belfast following the deal.

But the company's large depot here is expected to continue non-refrigerated food transport.

Seamus Leheny, policy manager for the Freight Transport Association in NI, said it was a major deal for the industry.

He added: "It normally happens the other way around as DFDS is a major multinational company. For a local company to buy part of a multinational, it's very uncommon here.

"It's great to see a local company roll up its sleeves to take on a new business opportunity."

Belfast Telegraph

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