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Wincanton sells and refinances
Originally published:  05/01/2012
UK-based Wincanton has completed the sale of its French and German operations to Rhenus following the granting of regulatory approval from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition. “We are delighted at the final approval from the anti-trust authorities at [the] European level and we are looking forward to tackling the tasks ahead of us, which are linked to this decision,” says Rhenus CEO Klemens Rethmann. “We will continue to operate the corporate units that we have taken over jointly with the new members of staff in order to satisfy customer requirements and further develop these under the Rhenus brand.”
On the back of this divestment, Wincanton has been able to conclude the £260m refinancing of its existing bank facility that had been due to expire this coming November. “This is an important step in the overall repositioning of Wincanton following the withdrawal from mainland Europe,” says Wincanton CEO Eric Born. “It ensures that Wincanton has appropriate funding in place and a maturity profile that enables us to focus on delivering profitable growth, which in turn will enable us to reduce current average debt levels as we build on the solid UK and Ireland business and generate positive cash-flow.”
In other news, the UK’s Energy Institute has honoured Wincanton with its 2011 Safety Award for a behavioural safety initiative pertaining to one of its fuel distribution contracts. As well as demonstrating significant performance improvements, the judges praised the collaborative approach taken by Wincanton in setting up a joint task force that included the contract management team, the customer, the drivers and trade union representatives.
First implemented in December 2009, the project, Wincanton explains, outlines “a new approach to communicating operational safety messages across the contract, focusing on making drivers more aware and accountable for their actions through self-assessment and safety observations both at the terminal and at customer delivery locations”. In turn this has resulted in, among other things, a full two years without a single reportable incident at one of the depots covered; a 43 per cent overall reduction in safety incidents on the contract; and “a radical transformation in safety culture”.