US giant snaps up Watson Fuels for £117m

January 7, 2014

North Wiltshire-based fuel distributor Watson has been sold to US-based global fuel logistics group World Fuel Services for £117m.

Family-owned Watson, which employs 670 people, will now be combined with World Fuel Services’ existing UK operations.

Watson, based at Brinkworth, near Royal Wootton Bassett, is one of the UK’s largest fuel distributors, handling petrol, diesel, heating oil, lubricants and other products across England and Wales. Its fleet of around 300 distinctive red tankers deliver fuel to domestic, industrial and agricultural customers.

The firm was launched in 1957 as a small local operator but has grown into one of the region’s largest firms. Its 2013 revenues are expected to be £1.34bn. It has a chain of nearly 50 depots across England and Wales.

Managing director Tony Watson said: “We are very excited to be joining a company with the capabilities and breadth of products and services of World Fuel. Coupled with World Fuel’s solid financial foundation, this transaction will allow us to expand our product and service offerings and further grow our distribution network.”

Michael J. Kasbar, president and chief executive officer of Miami-based World Fuel Services said: “Combined with our existing land business in the UK, this transaction will further solidify Watson’s position as one of the largest distributors of ground-based fuels in the UK and will provide a platform for further growth in the ground fuels space in the UK and elsewhere in Europe."

World Fuel Services operates the Henty Oil business across the UK. The group is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange.

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