Leading European transport and logistics provider DFDS has agreed to acquire the family-owned McBurney Transport Group in a deal worth around £143m; it also includes McBurney Refrigeration Ireland Ltd, and Bondelivery NI Ltd.
The news comes after Norman McBurney, who founded the company in Ballymena in 1965, announced his retirement.
One of Northern Ireland’s biggest success stories, McBurney Transport, with depots located across the UK and Ireland, employs over 800 people, and as a group operates a fleet of around 400 trucks and almost 1400 trailers.
In announcing the news to employees, Norman McBurney wrote: “Due to my retirement, I am pleased to announce that we have agreed to sell the entire share capital of our companies to DFDS A/S. I am delighted that the businesses will continue as they currently are, within the DFDS Group.
“The family and senior management team will continue to run the businesses with my daughter Carolyn Carmichael appointed as my replacement as Managing Director. We wish to assure you that it will be very much business as usual going forward and we have no doubt that the business will continue to grow from strength to strength.
“We would like to thank each and every one of you for your loyal service and commitment. We are exceptionally proud of how you have represented our family business throughout the years and what we have collectively achieved.”
The acquisition of McBurney Transport Group is aligned with DFDS’ strategic focus on cold chain logistics, it overlaps with existing activities in the region, and offers opportunities to connect with other parts of DFDS’ pan-European transport network.
“The acquisition of McBurney Transport Group greatly enhances the scope of our customer offerings on the island of Ireland and in the UK, particularly towards the resilient food sector. It also brings considerable scale to our existing operations in the region”, says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.
“By becoming part of DFDS we gain access to new development opportunities. I am certain the wider market coverage, including access to DFDS’ extensive transport network, will benefit our many longstanding customers. I am confident that our many loyal and dedicated employees will be comfortable and happy after this transaction”, adds Norman McBurney.
The core activity of McBurney is the transport of full and part-load trailers between island of Ireland and the UK by road and ferry. Most of the trailers are temperature-controlled units. McBurney annually transports more than 100,000 trailers across the Irish Sea and operates from eight different locations: three in Northern Ireland, one in Ireland, three in England and one in Scotland, while in Liverpool, McBurney operates a 25,000-pallet cold store, which facilitates the transport of cold chain goods throughout the UK.
Closing of the deal with DFDS, which has facilities in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Rosslare, is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be completed in the next couple of months.