East Anglian storage and logistics business acquired by Northern rival in multi-million-pound deal

The Ice Co Storage and Logistics, a major cold storage and logistics business with sites across Lancashire, Yorkshire and the North East, has acquired Savage Haulage Ltd, an East Anglian cold storage and logistics business, in a multi-million-pound deal. Price Bailey, the Top 30 accountants, and Tees Law, a Top 200 law firm, advised the Savage shareholders on the transaction. Savage Haulage was acquired from the company's founders, in a deal which will enable the combined business to strengthen its financial position in the face of major challenges confronting the storage and distribution sector in the UK.

Ice Co Storage and Logistics operates from sites in Newcastle, Preston and Doncaster providing storage, logistics, blast freezing and tempering services with space for over 51,000 pallets. Savage Haulage is one of the largest temperature-controlled storage and logistics businesses in East Anglia with sites in March, Cambridgeshire, and Thetford, Norfolk. The company has been a family business for 60 years run by brothers Martyn and John Savage.

In 2021 the business generated GBP5.9 million in revenues. Paul Martin, Managing Director of The Ice Co. Storage & Logistics, comments: "The acquisition of Savage Haulage provides us with greater geographic reach and capacity and allows us to benefit from greater economies of scale in the face of inflationary pressures which are eroding margins across the haulage and cold storage industry.

Combining operations puts us on a firm footing for growth in the years ahead."

Martyn Savage, joint MD of Savage Haulage commented: "The Ice Co Storage and Logistics are a family company with the same values and ethics as ourselves. They are committed to continuing the existing operations, retaining existing personnel in the same positions and creating further opportunities in East Anglia as they take the business forward."

Price Bailey's Strategic Corporate Finance team, led by Stephen Reed, was engaged to advise on the transaction and support the owners to realise the full potential of their family business. Having initially helped the Savage shareholders consider a range of exit opportunities, a sale mandate was agreed leading to discussions with a range of trade and private equity bidders, before Ice Co Storage & Logistics emerged as the preferred buyer.

Stephen Reed, Partner at Price Bailey, the accountants, comments: "The distribution and storage sector is highly fragmented with many owner-managed SME operators. Consolidation is occurring as operators seek to grow through acquisition and reduce unit costs through economies of scale and other operational efficiencies by combining resources and extending the range of services offered to customers. Ice Co Storage & Logistics are a natural fit with complimentary customers and Savage Haulage offers them a tremendous opportunity for geographic expansion."

Tees Law's Corporate team, led by Lucy Folley, was engaged to advise the owners on the legal aspects of the sale of their family business, guiding them through the complexities of the legal process whilst providing commercial and practical advice. Lucy Folley, Partner at Tees Law, comments: "The haulage and storage sector has faced inflationary challenges in the form of rising fuel, energy, and labour costs. Following a slowdown in consolidation during the pandemic, we are now seeing a strong resurgence in interest in mergers and acquisitions as businesses seek to capitalise on strategic opportunities and enlarge their geographical footprints."

FRP, the business advisory firm, and Andrew Jackson Solicitors, acted for The Ice Co Storage and Logistics.