Third acquisition delivered for expanding logistics business

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A family-run South Yorkshire distribution business has been acquired by a logistics and warehousing group. Barnsley-based John Truswell & Sons (Garage) Ltd has been bought by Blackburn-headquartered OTIF Group. John Truswell & Sons has a fleet of 70 trucks and 180 trailers.

It specialises in distribution across the UK, offers warehousing services and has a turnover of GBP10m. OTIF is owned by entrepreneur Graham Darnell and has a network of haulage contacts as well as its own dedicated transport fleet. It provides logistics solutions to some of the UK’s leading retailers.

The latest acquisition – enabled by corporate finance specialist Watersheds and legal experts Royds Withy King – pushes OTIF Group’s turnover to above GBP40m. It is OTIF’s third such deal in five years, following its acquisition of Kenyon Group in 2016 and Adam Jones Group in 2019. All these deals were led by Watersheds, and Royds Withy King also supported the Adam Jones Group takeover.

Darnell said: “Despite the pandemic, Watersheds managed to bring me an impressive variety of opportunities, all of which were interesting. “In the end, though, it was John Truswell & Sons that caught my eye. Like the other acquisitions Watersheds have arranged and completed for me, it is an off-market, strongly performing, highly reputable family business.

“I was also grateful to be working with the Royds Withy King’s legal team again, led by Katharine Mortimer. The team were able to progress this efficiently and effectively as well as advise me through the legal process.” Mortimer, a partner in Royds Withy King’s corporate team, said: “As in all transactions, employee engagement is key and in a company such as Truswells where length of service is measured in decades, it is hugely encouraging to see all parties supporting the business under Graham’s ownership.”

Wendy Lam, a partner at Watersheds, added: “This has been one of the smoothest transactions to date and a big contributing factor has been the collaboration with Royds Withy King. “Watersheds have worked with Katharine’s team on a number of deals in the past and both understand how critical it is to have the right advisors who will work in partnership, if you want a successful outcome.” Funding for the acquisition was provided by Praetura Commercial Finance.

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