Clipper directors raise £38m in shares sale

DIRECTORS AT '‹Clipper Logistics'‹ have sold shares in the Leeds-based firm to raise nearly £38m. '‹

Steve Parkin.

Clipper, ​which​ distributes goods for retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Asda and Morrisons,​ said around 9 per cent of the business has been sold off.​ Executive chairman Steve Parkin said​ t​he management team remains fully committed to the business and is confident about the future.

Mr Parkin’s investment vehicle Carlton Court will continue to own over 25 per cent of the business.

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The shares were sold at 430p to raise £37.7m for the directors. The shares closed at 465p on Tuesday, prior to the announcement. They closed down 2 per cent on Wednesday, a fall of 10p.

Mr Parkin said: “The management team remain fully committed to the business and are confident in the outlook for Clipper.

“The business is extremely well placed to continue its growth both organically and through targeted acquisitions. This placing will help improve the liquidity in Clipper shares, and we welcome the new shareholders that have come on to the register.”

Numis acted as sole bookrunner in connection with the placing.

Clipper will not receive any proceeds from the placing.

Clipper reported another year of double digit growth in 2017 and said it has benefited from the explosive growth of online retail sales.

The group said retailers enjoyed unprecedented sales during ​​Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with John Lewis reporting its busiest single hour of online trading ever.​

CEO Tony Mannix said: “​Black Friday and Cyber Monday​ we​​re​ very busy. Some retailers are saying good things, others are saying it wasn’t so sparkling.

“Overall, retail had a pretty good time. Retailers spread promotional activity across October and November and John Lewis reported its busiest ever trading.

“Retailers are bucking the gloom and doom out there.”

Clipper has put its success down to organic growth with the likes of Asda and Wilko and new contract wins with the likes of Asos.​ ​

​It reported significant organic growth, both with long-standing customers and with more recent start-ups, including the​ ​commencement of new Vype operations for BAT​.​

​The group said its Polish facility gives it room for manoeuvre amid the Brexit uncertainty.

Mr Parkin said: “We took the view we’d have a foot in both camps. You never know – in future years there could be a shift to Europe.

“If borders become tighter and you are an international player, you may decide not to bring goods into the UK to export them. We have no idea what will happen so there’s no point in wasting energy on it.”

The group said some EU workers have voted with their feet and decided to leave the UK.

“There has been a slowing down in the labour pool,” said Mr Parkin.

“We are looking at shift patterns that might suit UK workers such as young mums.”