Sitra Group acquires Abbey Logistics

Abbey Logistics Group has announced that Belgium-based food logistics specialist Sitra Group has acquired the company for an undisclosed sum.

Established in 1962, Sitra Group is a family-owned business with a 2022 turnover of 165 million euros and employs approximately 1,150 people across 11 countries, including the UK.

They operate 700 owned trucks and over 2,000 trailers/containers including liquid and powder food tankers. Abbey is a UK-based tanker operator specialising mainly in the food industry with a turnover of GBP 75m employing close to 600 people and operating 325 trucks and 550 trailers.

Since 2016 Abbey has been majority owned by private equity firm NorthEdge Capital following the Management-Buy-Out led by former CEO and current Chairman Steve Granite who commented on the deal:

“Since our MBO we have successfully transformed Abbey from a £45m turnover family business to a £75m market leader and refocused the business on its core strengths as a specialist tanker operator in the UK.  

“We are proud of how the business has grown not just in revenue but in market share and maturity to become the UK’s leading food tanker operator.  With the unwavering support of NorthEdge and a great working relationship between the Board and the investors, the business is now in great shape, and I am delighted to see it end up in the ownership of another family-owned business in Sitra Group who will undoubtedly develop the business & it’s people even further.

It has been a pleasure to work with David (Sitra Group CEO) and Kenneth (Creafund Partner) to close this deal and I look forward to helping to make the Abbey and Sitra partnership a huge success through an advisory role.  I would also like to say a huge thank you and well done to the employees of Abbey who have worked tirelessly to make Abbey the market leader it is today and I’m confident that being part of the Sitra Group will have a positive impact on our people and loyal customers.”

David Patten, group managing director of Abbey added “I have worked with Sitra as a supplier during my time as a customer in Europe and I hold the company and its people in high regard.  It is an exciting time in Abbey’s history to once again be part of a family-owned business and I am over the moon to be joining the Sitra team.  This is great news for our employees and customers.”

Jon Pickering, partner and chief investment officer at NorthEdge added: “We are proud to see Abbey joining forces with Sitra, another market-leading business with a strong commercial and cultural fit. Throughout our partnership management have worked tirelessly to build a high-quality leadership team, retain and grow a blue-chip customer base, continuously improve operational efficiencies and develop a market-leading approach to talent attraction and retention to support scale. Abbey is now well positioned for future growth as part of Sitra, continuing to deliver world-class service to its customers, and we wish the whole team the best of luck in their next chapter.”

Sitra Group is owned by Saelens family together with Creafund, the evergreen investment company holding the balance of shares since 2021.

David Saelens, CEO of Sitra Group said:

“Sitra Group is delighted to announce the acquisition of Abbey Logistics Group. It is a milestone in Sitra’s history to acquire a renowned, well-established company like Abbey.

“Together with our partner Creafund we have been working almost a year on this deal and to now welcome the whole Abbey family to the Sitra group feels as the cherry on the cake. It was a great pleasure to work closely with Steve, Dave and Matthew who are truly professionals as well as the other members of the Abbey management. ]

“We have not only acquired a great company but we also welcome some of the best individuals in our industry. We are very much looking forward to welcoming and introducing every Abbey member in our organisation. Abbey will continue to operate under its own name and colours and Sitra is not intending to change whatsoever to the well-working organisation that Abbey is today.”