Clipper Logistics signs deals, upgrades guidance

Shares of Leeds-based retail logistics firm Clipper Logistics rose about 2% on Monday after it published a strong trading update for the year ended April 30, 2021, upgraded its guidance for investors and announced an acquisition and a new contract extension.

The company said it expects revenue for FY21 of £698 million, 39% ahead of the prior year “driven by a combination of organic growth and new contract wins.”

Clipper said it will extend its reach into life sciences with the acquisition of Wippet Ltd.

And the Leeds firm announced a three year extension to its contract with ASOS in Poland.

“Underpinning the group’s ambition to become a global leader in end to end ecommerce and retail, the company continues to explore potential M&A opportunities in both mainland Europe and North America,” added the company.

Clipper’s shares have soared more than 160% over the past 12 months to give the firm a current stock market value of about £800 million.

Clipper enjoyed a significant number of new contract wins during the year including deals with River Island, Mountain Warehouse, Joules, Revolution Beauty and JD Sports in the UK.

Clipper Logistics executive chairman Steve Parkin said: “FY21 has been an unprecedented year which demonstrates again the strength and resilience of our model and the ability of Clipper to deliver a strong performance in the rapidly changing e-commerce and retail environment.

“We have enabled retailers to overcome challenges and adapt quickly by rethinking the way to operate both their online and bricks and mortar channels.

“Additionally, we have entered the life sciences sector in support of the NHS and care sectors, providing fulfilment of vital supplies.

“The uniqueness of our full end to end solutions combined with our agile and able culture has accelerated our contract wins in the UK and Mainland Europe which is testament  to our expertise and execution of our strategy.

“We are very well positioned to further accelerate growth by capitalising on the structural shift to online and to position Clipper as a global e-commerce and retail logistics enabler.

“As such, we are pleased to upgrade our guidance for both FY22 and FY23.”

On trading, Clipper said: “The group has continued to perform strongly throughout FY21 and full year EBIT (IAS17 basis) is expected to be in line with expectations of £31.6m, an underlying increase of 53% on the £20.6m achieved in FY20 (excluding the negative goodwill which arose in FY20).

“We expect revenue for FY21 of £698m, 39% ahead of the prior year driven by a combination of organic growth and new contract wins.

“EBIT on an IFRS16 basis is expected to be in line with the market consensus of £40.2m, 39% higher than the £29.0m achieved in FY20 (again excluding the negative goodwill arising in the prior year).

“The structural shift to online accelerated during the year due to the pandemic and we expect to see continuing momentum in e-fulfilment activities post pandemic.

“Non e-fulfilment also performed strongly driven by new contract wins as retailers looked to outsource, collaborate, and share costs, which plays well to Clipper’s shared-user network in its role as an enabler of retail.

“The company’s strong track record of providing innovative solutions, and supporting online retailers in driving growth, cost efficiency and excellent customer service has strategically positioned us well to seize further opportunities.

“Feedback across our customer base has highlighted the strong level of support we have been able to provide due to our agility and ability to offer adaptable working solutions and services in short timescales.

“Our core e-fulfilment and returns management services saw a significant number of new contract wins during the year including River Island, Mountain Warehouse, Joules, Revolution Beauty and JD Sports in the UK.

“We have extended into a new geography with a new contract with FarFetch in the Netherlands which commenced in April 2021, as well as recording strong e-commerce growth in mainland Europe and have supported a number of retailers in delivering into Europe efficiently, post Brexit.

“The group continues to have a strong new business pipeline and we look forward to updating the market in due course.”

On the acquisition of Wippet Ltd, Clipper said: “Wippet will launch an online B2B marketplace to service the broader health care sector in the UK.

“This new investment is aligned to the company’s strategic intent to extend its penetration into the life sciences sector, which we have previously highlighted as a potential significant growth opportunity for the company.

“Wippet will launch in September 2021 as a B2B online marketplace initially targeting buyers from the fragmented elderly care market, which is a sector worth up to £2.5 billion per annum, alongside vendors who sell to more than 5,500 care homes across the UK.

“Orders through the B2B platform can either be fulfilled by Clipper or directly by the vendor.

“Over time there are potential opportunities to expand the Wippet platform internationally, and also to extend the marketplace platform to other sectors.

“Wippet will offer the convenience of a single-portal access to category-specific and specialised products in a highly fragmented market. Vendors to the Wippet portal will benefit from easier access and reduced costs to their target customers.

“Wippet will be led by a highly experienced management team with Matt Oxley as Managing Director. Matt has previously held executive positions in major healthcare organisations.”

On the ASOS contract, Clipper said: “In addition to its UK operation, the company already provides returns management services for ASOS’ mainland Europe operation at its Poznan facility in Poland.

“We are pleased to announce a new three year extension to our contract which will see ASOS further consolidate its mainland European returns into Clipper’s facility.

“As a result we will grow our ASOS headcount from 350 full-time equivalents (FTE) to 700 FTEs at the Poznan site.

“This extended contract with ASOS demonstrates the strength of our European management team which underpins our European growth ambitions.

“We are encouraged by the immediate growth in volumes in recent weeks.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.