Candour Logistics, acquired by Far Logistics
Warrington-based Candour Logistics, which was started in 2015 by John Keary and Edward Hunter, has been acquired by Far Logistics in Manchester. Candour, which employs 21 people on Lowton Business Park, will continue to operate on the site with the backing of Far’s UK network and international footprint.
Far Logistics, which employs more than 60 people, has eight offices in the UK, and recently expanded into Europe with a site in Rotterdam. It is part-owned by the Cardinal Maritime group, which provides additional support with 11 international offices, and a major presence on the ground in China.
In the 12 months to 30 March 2020, Candour Logistics grew into an £80m business, and has twice been named in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100. Far Logistics is expected to record revenues of more than £50m to the end of 2020, having grown from the £30m just two years ago.
“If you look at the growth we’ve had, and you look at what Far Logistics is doing, we are essentially putting two strong companies together and making them even stronger,” said John Keary, managing director at Candour Logistics.
“Far’s like-minded attitude, way of doing business and strong sense of culture, means we can become part of the team easily. While Far Logistics has the backing of Cardinal Maritime, it has its own identity, too: it is pragmatic, and youthful, and I see that as a really good fit.”
Far Logistics, which was founded in 2012 by chief executive Simon Boucher and Cardinal Maritime, supports freight professionals to open regional offices and gives them equity once early targets are met. In the past eight years, operations have been opened in Manchester, Liverpool, Southampton, Felixstowe, Basildon, Nottingham, Heathrow, and Glasgow, in addition to Rotterdam.
As part of this acquisition, which is the first of its kind for Far Logistics, John Keary will become a shareholder and member of the board.
“The maritime industry is evolving,” added Keary. “It has always been a bit behind the digital curve. I saw this three years ago, and realised we could benefit from being stronger in many ways, with IT and a global infrastructure. Internally, there is also going to be more opportunities for the team. As a business, the deal solidifies our position, and ultimately makes us stronger.”
While both businesses have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, they have seen demand recover in recent months, as the natural rhythms of the sector begin to be restored and demand for goods bought online continues to grow.
According to figures from the ONS, online retail as a percentage of total spend grew to more than 30 per cent in May 2020 and has remained above its previous highs. In the second quarter of the year, ONS data also indicates that the UK bought more goods from China than ever before, with inbound trade valued at £11bn.
Simon Boucher, chief executive at Far Logistics, added: “It’s an exciting move and shows our ambition to drive the business forwards. We are excited about the calibre of staff that are joining us and the opportunity to work with industry professionals like John and his team.
“We want this to be the first of many acquisitions as we grow. We are focused on growth and are doing this because it’s the right thing for the business and for the management team. We also want to create opportunities for our colleagues to grow into.
“In addition, we are developing better products and more buying power in a global market. We have a really strong team and have the opportunity to deliver on this successfully.”
Brian Hay, chief executive at Cardinal Maritime, said: “We wanted to do the deal as we have tracked John’s career and his performance with Candour Logistics for some time. We are full of admiration for what he and his team have achieved.
“The business has been featured in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 for the past two years and has more than demonstrated its exceptional capability. We know, having spoken to many of its clients, that Candour – like Cardinal Maritime and Far Logistics – puts client and employee success above and beyond any other metric.
“This is consistent with our own culture and the opportunity to integrate the businesses, to the benefit of all stakeholders, is hugely appealing.”
Cardinal Maritime has been trading for more than 20 years. With 21 offices around the world, it is aiming to become a £200m turnover business in 2021. The company is also working towards becoming carbon neutral, with the support of Planet Mark, and is accredited as a Living Wage employer.
Technology development in house has linked its global operations on a common platform, enabling it to respond to growing demands for real-time information from customers. It uses its LEDA platform – Logistics Enterprise Data Application – to collate global data sources from the shipping industry to keep track of goods all over the world.
Hay added: “We are adaptable to the changing market. The mid-market businesses have fared better than our multinational friends during the pandemic, because we are able to move fast and think on our feet. Companies like Far Logistics and Candour Logistics have been able to adapt to the changing environment and will continue to flourish.”
In the past five years, Candour Logistics has twice been named in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100, which ranks the fastest-growing private businesses in the UK.
Banking support for the deal was provided by Leon Crook at HSBC, with financial due diligence completed by Dean McMullan from Allens Accountants. Frank Shepherd and Matthew Judge from DWF provided legal advice to Far Logistics, with Sean Lightfoot from Hill Dickinson acting for Candour Logistics.
Sunday Times Fast Track 100 2020 entry for Candour Logistics here