EDITORIAL: Not even private equity could stop Pure going sour

By: Jason Whittaker


There were rumours about the viability of Pure Logistics for some months. But its collapse still came as some sort

There were rumours about the viability of Pure Logistics for some months. But its collapse still came as some sort of surprise, and serves as a timely warning to other operators.

The company’s Cold Chain division was placed into the hands of administrators earlier this after week exhausting all its financial options. The division is more than half of the Pure business, with some 260 employees and 100 contractors.

Pure was supposed to be on solid ground. With private equity backing from ABN AMRO, the amalgamated company that includes McColls and Scott’s Refrigerated was a force with size and scale in the cold chain market.

But fuel costs bit hard, especially in a refrigerated business that relies on diesel for both running the trucks and running the refrigerated trailers. ATN understands it was the ANZ bank, a major backer of the venture, that eventually called time.

If a company of this size, with these resources, can’t pay its fuel bill, what hope is there for smaller operators?

It’s a timely warning: adjust fuel levies accordingly. And walk away from customers that simply won’t see reason.

Forget fatigue laws, there is no bigger issue for road transport operators right now than cost management. The ability to stay on top of escalating fuel costs will make or break many operators.

Not even the seemingly bottomless pit that is private equity and the synergies from market consolidation could save this company. Don’t be the next victim.

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