EXCLUSIVE: Private equity firm targets Bunker, Doolans and WA Freightlines

By: Jason Whittaker


Gresham Partners’ private equity arm will spend about $200 million to buy-out six family-owned transport and logistics businesses. ATN understands

Gresham Partners’ private equity arm will spend about $200 million to buy-out six family-owned transport and logistics businesses. ATN understands Gresham is to purchase Doolan’s Heavy Haulage, WA Freightlines and Bunker Freight Lines.

While a spokeswoman for Gresham last week declined to name the companies, industry sources have confirmed all three companies will be acquired under Gresham’s multi-million dollar plan.

Calls made to Gresham were not returned.

ATN also contacted the three companies named in the takeover, with Doolan’s Managing Director Warwick Doolan declining to comment but not ruling out whether the local and interstate contractor will be bought out.

A spokesman for Western Australia Freightlines declined to comment, while calls made to Bunker Freight Lines were not returned.

If bought out, the companies, along with the other three un-named businesses, will be consolidated into one entity called Silk Logistics.

Gresham intends to buy the six companies with a combination of debt and equity.

A spokeswoman for the Sydney-based Gresham Partners says an announcement will be made this week about the acquisitions.

Gresham Partners is owned by Wesfarmers, and it is not certain if Silk Logistics will service Wesfarmers-owned companies such as Bunnings and Coles or whether it will operate independently.

Gresham private equity chief Roy McKelvie says consolidating the six companies under the one name will offer a more efficient and comprehensive service to the group’s clients.

Former BP logistics chief Bob Welsh will helm Silk Logistics, which will appeal to a wide-range of customers based on the services currently offered by Doolan’s, WA Freightlines and Bunker Freight Lines.

Doolan’s operates a combination of pilot vehicles, tilt trays, semi trays and low loader trailers while WA Freightlines provides intrastate and interstate transport operations as well as warehousing and distribution services.

Bunker, which is based in Victoria, has 80 prime movers and 250 trailers with depots in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

It is one of Australia’s largest long distance line-haul operators, employing 200 staff.

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