Sunday 16 June 2019

Fastway plots potential sale to international firm

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Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

IRISH firm Fastway Couriers will look to sell itself to an international player as the growth of e-commerce boosts package delivery businesses.

Fastway, which operates a franchise model here, plans to invest €10m in its infrastructure here over the next five to seven years, according to strategy director Danny Hughes.

The company has been backed by private equity fund MML Growth Capital Partners, which helped fund a management buyout in 2016. Being a private-equity company means MML is likely to look to sell up its stake in the business in the coming years, as it seeks to make a return on its money.

"We don't have a script for the next transaction or when or how it may take place. But any business that's operating with the sort of increased year-on-year revenue and profit growth we're seeing is obviously ripe for an opportunity to come along in the next three to five years," Mr Hughes told the Irish Independent.

To continue the strong growth seen in recent years Fastway is looking at building relationships with international players in order to boost its sales volumes.

"There's only probably 10 genuinely global operators, so becoming part of one of them is the more likely route of where you see Fastway over the next five or 10 years," Mr Hughes said, adding that a global or UK-based operator without an Irish arm may look to expand here by buying Fastway. The industry is seeing lots of consolidation as companies look to cope with increased package volumes.

Fastway is also considering ways to grow by diversifying into areas that are similar to its current business. Waste collection and laundry are two potential areas given that they involve picking up something in one place and delivering it to another.

Mr Hughes said Fastway would also look to expand by encouraging Irish retailers to sell more goods online. In addition, it's targeting businesses that require footfall (which may be declining due to the rise of online) by offering them the chance to become delivery hubs.

"If you require footfall as part of your business well we can give you footfall because you can receive parcels on behalf of a customer and they come in... we pay the shop a handling fee," Mr Hughes said.

The rise of Black Friday and Cyber Monday has presented a challenge to the business in that it can have to deal with 400pc or 500pc more packages compared with the previous Friday and Monday, Mr Hughes said. "Managing the quality of the service in line with the growth is a challenge," he added.

Irish Independent

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