Baker Tilly Berk CF advises Eimskip - Jac. Meisner deal

16 January 2015

Global shipping company Eimskip has recently acquired Jac. Meisner, a reefer logistics based in the Netherlands. As part of the deal, which was guided by Baker Tilly Berk, twelve employees of Jac. Meisner will join Eimskip.

Eimskip was founded in 1914, making it the oldest, and also the largest shipping company in Iceland. In the early years the firm specialised in shipping transport to and from the island, yet in recent decades it has diversified and expanded into a global shipping player, with a focus on temperature-controlled shipping. Eimskip currently operates with offices in 17 countries worldwide, in addition the firm serves several other markets through an agent network.

In line with its ambition to further grow its European footprint, the Iceland-based firm has decided to poach Jac. Meisner, a reefer logistics company located in the Dutch port of Rotterdam. The firm, established in 1959, specialises in custom brokerage, veterinary & agricultural inspection, receiving and clearing frozen and chilled cargo for import into European countries. Jac. Meisner has twelve employees and an annual turnover of approximately €7.5 million.

Eimskip - Jac. Meisner

“The transaction is a part of Eimskip’s strategy of external growth and will further strengthen the company’s worldwide reefer logistics services,” explains Gylfi Sigfússon, CEO of Eimskip. For Jac. Meisner, the integration into the larger player will provide it access to new segments within the shipping value chain and the potential to tap into a more global network, acknowledges Dick Weijgertze, Managing Director of Jac. Meisner. “By joining Eimskip’s worldwide forwarding network we can achieve breakthroughs for new added value logistics services to secure the continuing strong position of Jac. Meisner in the port of Rotterdam,” he says.

Eimskip has acquired 100% of the shares of Jac. Meisner and was advised by the Corporate Finance team of Baker Tilly Berk, the Dutch member firm of Baker Tilly International. All 12 employees will transfer to the buyer, with Weijgertze staying on board as the Managing Director.


8 tips for successfully buying or selling a distressed business

18 April 2019

Embarking on the sale of a business is one of the most challenging experiences a management team can undertake. Even serial dealmakers acknowledge that the transaction process can be gruelling, exposing management to a level of scrutiny and challenge through due diligence that can be distinctly uncomfortable.

So, to embark on a sale process when a business is in distress is twice as challenging. While management is urgently trying to keep the business afloat, they are simultaneously required to prepare it for scrutiny by potential acquirers. Tim Wainwright, an experienced Transactions Partner with Eight Advisory, says that this dual requirement means sellers of distressed businesses must focus on presenting their business in a way that supports buyers in identifying value, whilst simultaneously being open about the causes of distress. 

According to Wainwright, sellers of distressed businesses should focus on eight key aspects to ensure they are as well prepared as possible:

  • Cash: In a distressed situation cash truly is king. Accurate forecasting and day-by-day cash balances are often required to ensure any buyer is confident that scarce cash reserves are under proper control. 
  • Equity story and turnaround plan: Any buyer is going to want to understand the proposed turnaround strategy: how is the business going to enact its recovery and what value can be created that means the distressed business is worth saving? Clear presentation of this strategy is essential.
  • The business model: Clear demonstration of how the business model generates cash is required, with analysis that shows how financial performance will respond to key changes – whether these are positive improvements (e.g., increases in revenue) or emerging risks that further damage the business.  Demonstrating the business is resilient enough to cope with these changes can go a long way to assuring investors there is a viable future.
  • Management team: As outlined above, this is a challenging process. The management team are in it together and need to be consistent in presenting the turnaround. Above all, the team needs to be open about the underlying causes that resulted in the distressed situation arising.  A defensive management team who fail to acknowledge root causes of distress are unlikely to resolve the situation.

8 tips for successfully buying or selling a distressed business

  • Financing: More than in any traditional transaction, distressed businesses need to understand the impact on working capital. The distressed situation frequently results in costs rising as credit insurance becomes more difficult to obtain or as customers and suppliers reduce credit. Understanding how these unwind will be important to the potential investors.
  • Employees: Any restructuring programme can be difficult for employees. Maintaining open communications and respecting the need for consultation is the basic requirement. In successful turnarounds, employees are often deeply engaged in designing and developing solutions. Demonstrating a supportive, flexible employee base can often support the sale process.
  • Structuring: Understanding how to structure the business for the proposed acquisition can add significant value. Where possible, asset sales may be preferred, enabling buyers to move forward with limited liabilities. However, impacts on customers, employees and other stakeholders need to be considered.
  • Off balance sheet assets: In the course of selling a distressed business, additional attention is often given to communicating the value of items that may not be fully valued in the financial statements. Brands, intellectual property and historic tax losses are all examples of items that may be of significant value to a purchaser. Highlighting these aspects can make an acquisition more appealing.

“These eight focus areas can help to sell a distressed business and are important in reaching a successful outcome, but it should be noted that it will remain a challenging process,” Wainwright explains. 

With recent studies indicating that the valuation of distressed business is trending north. With increased appetite from buyers who are accustomed to taking on these situations, it is likely that more distressed deals will be seen in the coming months. “Preparing management teams as best as possible for delivering these will be key to ensuring these businesses can pass on to new owners who can hopefully drive the restructuring required to see these succeed,” Wainwright added.