Acquisition puts Wincanton in fast lane of rapid-growth digital and eFulfilment sector

September 15, 2021

Logistics group Wincanton has boosted its presence in the fast-growing eCommerce market with the acquisition of a major player in the sector.

Chippenham-headquartered Wincanton said the takeover of Cygnia would open up new growth opportunities in the sector while also “significantly enhancing” its growing digital and eFulfilment business division. 

The move follows Wincanton’s investment earlier this year in a 528,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art, automated eFulfilment facility in Rockingham, Northamptonshire, to create additional capacity to drive growth.

Founded in 1990, Northampton-based Cygnia has become one of the UK’s principal providers of supply-chain services to high-profile consumer-facing brands such as BrewDog, Moonpig, Molton Brown, Revolution Beauty, Whittard of Chelsea and Feelunique.

A specialist in eCommerce fulfilment, it has expertise spanning the full breadth of their customers’ requirements, including high-volume order fulfilment, returns and carrier management services.

Cygnia, which employs around 700 people operating from four sites across the UK, will operate as a separate brand within the Wincanton group and operate as part of its digital & eFulfilment business division.

Wincanton said this would enable the combined business to leverage Cygnia’s reputation as a mid-market multichannel fulfilment provider alongside Wincanton’s reputation in eCommerce supply chain services. 

The acquisition will also provide Cygnia with access to Wincanton’s scale and expertise, including the Rockingham facility, which will enable it to accelerate the pace of its growth. Wincanton secured contracts with DIY chain B&Q and sofa firm Snug shortly after acquiring the site earlier this year. 

In recent years Wincanton has identified eCommerce as a key growth market and an area of strategic focus for the business – a move that appears to have paid off, particularly during the pandemic when home shopping soared.

Wincanton CEO James Wroath, pictured below, said the addition of Cygnia would significantly enhance the group’s eCommerce capabilities.

“This acquisition is a significant step forward for our eCommerce proposition and I am delighted to welcome our new colleagues at Cygnia.

“This is a business with a fantastic reputation for supporting many of the UK’s most successful brands, underpinned by a focus on operational excellence which will complement Wincanton’s customer-focused approach.

“The transaction is perfectly aligned with our strategy to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the shift to online retail and will position us well to benefit from many of the changes we are seeing in the broader logistics sector. 

“Wincanton has long been a leader in supporting many of the UK’s biggest brands and now, together with Cygnia, we will be able to further extend our reach to fast-growing, mid-market eCommerce customers.”

Cygnia CEO Glenn Lindfield added: “We’re thrilled to be joining Wincanton, one of the UK’s leading supply chain specialists, so that we can continue to build on our partnerships with customers in the growing mid-market eCommerce market.

“This transaction brings together the scale and supply chain expertise of Wincanton with the agility and flexibility of the Cygnia business and will enable us to grow at pace in this important market.”

Wincanton acquired Cygnia from US-headquartered global alternative investment firm Crescent Capital, which had owned it for four years. Details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Separately, Wincanton is appointing Carl Moore as managing director of digital and eFulfilment. Carl, who will take up his new role next January, has spent the past 13 years in a range of senior roles with Clipper Logistics, most recently as chief commercial officer.

Wincanton, Britain’s largest third-party logistics group, employs around 19,600 workers, including 5,500 drivers, providing supply chain services to brands ranging from Britvic to Screwfix and across a wide range of industries including retail, construction, defence and energy.

It operates from more than 200 sites across the UK totalling 14m sq ft of space and uses 3,500 vehicles.


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