FRANCE – French shipping giant CMA CGM has successfully secured the US$972.25 million takeover of Wincanton, a century-old British milk distributor founded in 1925 as part of the West Surrey Central Dairy Company.

The acquisition, representing a substantial 52% premium to Wincanton’s share price, marks a major shift in the UK logistics industry.

CMA CGM, owned by billionaire Rodolphe Saade and his family, is estimated to be worth US$9.8 billion (£7.7 billion).

The acquisition will give CMA CGM control over Wincanton’s operations, which has evolved over the years to become a key player in the UK supply chain.

Wincanton’s core business includes not only milk delivery but also warehousing and transportation services for major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Argos, Morrisons, and Waitrose.

Following the completion of the deal, Wincanton will exit the London Stock Exchange, signaling a significant transformation in the logistics industry as major players withdraw from public listings.

James Wroth, CEO of Wincanton, expressed optimism about the acquisition, stating that it will enable the company to continue and accelerate its progress by exploring new growth opportunities with a financially robust partner.

Wincanton, known for its distinctive blue and white lorries on UK motorways, employs 20,000 people in the UK, including 5,000 drivers, and manages over 16 million square feet of warehouse space.

The acquisition by CMA CGM, through its subsidiary Service Logistics, aligns with the trend of independent logistics firms undergoing acquisitions, including Clipper Logistics and DX Group.

CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container line, with a rich history stemming from the merger of Compagnie Maritime d’Affrétement (CMA) and Compagnie Générale Transatlantic in 1999, is making strategic moves in the logistics sector.

The acquisition of Wincanton adds to its portfolio of logistics services.

While Wincanton began as a subsidiary of Cow & Gate, gaining prominence in the 1950s with a significant agreement with the Milk Marketing Board for farm collection of milk, its services have diversified over the years.

Despite recently losing a milk delivery contract with Muller, Wincanton remains a formidable player in the logistics industry, boasting a turnover of US$1.91 billion and pre-tax profits of US$2.43 million in its latest financial results.

The acquisition positions Wincanton for potential growth and exploration of new avenues in the evolving logistics landscape under the ownership of CMA CGM.

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