Great optimism points to an acceleration in logistics mergers and acquisitions

Almost a third (30%) of logistics leaders are more likely to undertake Merger & Acquisition (M&A) activity in Q1 2021 than they were 12 months ago, according to a report launched today (26 April 2021) by business group Logistics UK, in partnership with leading accountancy firm CBW.

UK Logistics Sector M&A Index Q1 2021: Interim Survey Results provides an overview on trends in M&A activity, including valuations, and delves into some of the most important issues facing companies in the sector, including Brexit, COVID-19 pandemic, and the industry skills shortage. 

David Wells, Chief Executive at Logistics UK, comments: “The past 12 months have placed untold pressures on the logistics sector: 68% of survey respondents say they expect a negative outcome for their business from Brexit and the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU, and just under 50% of business leaders say they are satisfied with the support provided to the UK logistics sector by the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“However, M&A activity and company valuation trends are encouraging: 39% of survey respondents say valuations of logistics companies have increased in the past 12 months, a 17% rise on 2020, and 57% say valuations will continue to increase in the next year – a 30% rise on 2020.  

CBW’s Head of Logistics and Corporate Finance, Philip Bird, and David Wells, Chief Executive of Logistics UK, discuss the results of the survey

“With the ongoing success of the vaccine rollout, and as parts of the economy reopen, industry optimism for the next 12 months among our respondents has increased from the previous survey. And the sector is already thinking proactively about new business models and strategies in response to Brexit: our findings show that 23% of logistics operators expect to diversify their service offering. 

“A successful, resilient logistics industry will be key as the economy reopens and, while many sectors of the economy are yet to fully bounce back, businesses across logistics will provide a good indicator of the health of the nation’s future ambitions for financial growth. As the business group representing the logistics sector, Logistics UK will continue working hard to alleviate any challenges to logistics operations to keep goods moving freely across the UK and further afield.” 

Philip Bird, Partner and Head of Logistics & Corporate Finance at CBW, says: “The results of our latest survey suggest that the sector is more optimistic than it was when we undertook our first survey last year and this is reflected in the 23% increase in the M&A Index number. Further consolidation is on the horizon and supported by stronger valuations. 

“There is no doubt that the logistics sector has played, and will continue to play, a key role in helping the UK economy and society through the pandemic so far – whether it has been ensuring the availability of food in supermarkets or vaccines at points of delivery, this has increased the attractiveness of logistics companies to other operators and investors.” 

About Logistics UK

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With COVID-19, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.

Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods.

For more information about the organisation and its work, including its ground-breaking research into the impacts of COVID-19 on the whole supply chain, please visit   

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