Thursday 5th July 2018
GFG’s infrastructure division, SIMEC Infrastructure has reached agreement to buy a major port and cargo-handling business in South Wales, as it expands its transport infrastructure across the country.
Having recently acquired the freehold of Bird Port at Newport, SIMEC Infrastructure has now agreed to buy Cargo Services (UK) Ltd, which runs all freight-handling operations at the site. This will be SIMEC’s second port on the River Usk and the company also owns Blyth Port, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Bird Port, which will be renamed SIMEC Bird Port following completion of the deal, is the busiest dock on the Usk, handling up to 800,000 tonnes of cargo each year; mainly steel and bulk products.
The port, employing 64 people, boasts modern undercover storage facilities totalling over 160,000 sq ft, and is equipped with a unique double set of Goliath gantry cranes spanning the dock, which enables the operation to handle high-value steel products with precision and minimal risk. It was the first fully-undercover cargo-handling facility built on Britain’s west coast to allow loading and unloading of sea-going vessels in all weathers.
Executive chairman of the GFG Alliance Sanjeev Gupta said the agreement comes at a strategically important time both for the group and for the Newport area. “We’re planning to install major steel-making capacity at Liberty Steel Newport and convert the neighbouring Uskmouth Power Station to renewable energy to drive the steel mill. At the same time plans are progressing for the M4 relief road and the abolition of Severn Bridge tolls. All of that ensures that this area’s importance as an international transport hub will increase immensely in the years ahead.
“We’re very pleased to secure a great business in Cargo Services and to add a valuable asset to our growing UK infrastructure portfolio. With the amazing facilities SIMEC Bird Port and Cargo Services offer, this is a very significant milestone for GFG and a big boost for Newport and South Wales.”
Cargo Services chief executive, John Davey, who will continue to lead the operation as part of the GFG Alliance, said: “In 2017, after 21 years building and investing in the business, we decided it was time to sell to an organisation that could take it to bigger and better things, while, at the same time, safeguarding the long-term future of the enterprise and its workforce. SIMEC, as part of the global GFG Alliance, is exactly the right candidate to do just that.”
“Bird Port is an essential part of the Welsh economic infrastructure because it underpins leading Welsh steel firms as a mainstream outlet for their finished products. We have earned an unrivalled reputation for flexibility, best value for money service and rapid vessel turnaround due to a dedicated management and skilled workforce. This combination has seen the port’s throughput grow fourfold since 2004,” he added.
As part of the purchase agreement, SIMEC will also acquire two of Cargo Services’ subsidiary companies – timber merchants Wm. Shapland & Sons and road hauliers, Ryan Transport, both located at Newport.”
The sale process was conducted by Grant Thornton for Cargo Services (UK) Ltd and legal representation was provided by Capital Law of Cardiff. SIMEC’s legal advisers were Clyde & Co.
Justine Duggan (iNHouse Communications)