Savage Haulage

Providing sell side advisory assistance to a specialist refrigerated haulage and cold storage business

About Savage Haulage

Price Bailey’s Strategic Corporate Finance (“SCF”) team recently advised Savage Haulage Limited, a specialist refrigerated haulage and cold storage business, on their sale to The Ice Co. Storage & Logistics Holdings Limited (“Ice Co.”). The company, based out of March and Thetford in the East of England, has been a family run business for 60 years – with brothers Martyn and John Savage currently leading operations. In 2021 they posted figures of £5.9m turnover and an EBITDA of £1.5m.

The SCF team were introduced to Savage Haulage back in 2017 by our Business Compliance team, who have been supporting Savage Haulage with accounting services for a number of years, as the Shareholders were considering their exit from the business and a potential sale was explored. However, opportunities within the industry meant that the shareholders ultimately decided to continue the development of the Company and, as such, the shareholders’ exit from the business was temporarily put on hold.

Our teams kept in regular contact with the client throughout the intervening period and were engaged to consult with the client regularly. During this time we supported the owners to focus on the valuation drivers in the business and advised on changes they could consider making in order to increase their value and attractiveness for future exit opportunities. Consequently, the client modernised the cold stores, diversified the service offering to incorporate blast freezing and packing services, empowered a couple of key personnel and improved operational efficiency within the transport division. The business always had an excellent customer service record and this improved further during this time.

Throughout this time the Strategic Corporate Finance team (supported by our Business team who continued to provide accounts and compliance services) regularly reviewed business performance, and joined quarterly review meetings to discuss the moving high level valuation and any interesting updates on the M&A market. This included responding to many different off-market approaches the owners received in the 2-year period of our retainer.

The sale process was reignited in late 2021 and Price Bailey were engaged to provide lead advisory services on the sale of the company. The business had grown in all respects and was much more profitable too which clearly helped as we had good levels of interest from trade and a couple of Private Equity funds. Initially engaged to design the sale structure, we established that the most appropriate approach, that would ensure commercial continuity, was an exit to trade or private equity. We were able to establish confidential dialogue with a number of seriously interested bidders and received a range of competitive offers, but chose to enter into exclusive negotiations with Ice Co., a temperature controlled storage and distribution company located across several sites in the North of England with the ambition of expanding geographically to other sites across the UK.

With forecasting and management accounting support from our Business Compliance team, the SCF team project managed the entire process, working with the company’s other advisors and those of the buyer to support the completion of financial and legal due diligence, agreement of final valuation, heads of terms negotiations and drafting of the SPA through to completion. The sale of Savage Haulage to Ice Co. provides the buyer with greater geographic reach and capacity, in the face of current and ongoing transportation cost increases.

Stephen Reed, Strategic Corporate Finance Partner at Price Bailey said :

We have known the team at Savage Haulage for several years now and were delighted to support them in this deal. We look forward to keeping in touch with them as they consider their future endeavours. It will be interesting to keep in touch with Ice Co. to see how this strategic acquisition benefits the growth of their business in these turbulent times.

Martyn Savage, former Owner Shareholder at Savage Haulage Limited said:

The sale of our family business to a company like Ice Co. is a fantastic opportunity for our existing business and theirs in expanding that geographical scope. Having worked with Price Bailey for a number of years now, we knew we were in good hands when it came to exiting our business. Our thanks go to Stephen and the teams across Price Bailey in supporting us in this final stage for us in our business.

Paul Martin, MD or Chris Williamson, FD for The Ice Co. Storage & Logistics Holdings Limited added:

We are very pleased to have completed the acquisition of Savage Haulage Ltd. Their fantastic reputation in the sector is a great addition to our expanding business. Thank you to the team at Price Bailey in helping guide the entire process through to fruition.


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