Business, Feature, Forwarding, Freight News, Logistics

Management buys Dublin’s Toga Freight and joins System Alliance network

[ September 25, 2023   //   ]

The management of Dublin-based Toga Freight have completed a buyout and acquired the full shareholding of the forwarder from co-founder and majority shareholder, Martin Gately.

Toga Freight Services was founded in 1978 by the later Peter Toner and Martin Gately (hence the name ‘To-Ga’) and since Peter Toner’s passing away in 2016 has been owned and run by Martin Gately, Robert Dickinson, Muriel Corish and Peter Toner’s son, Darragh Toner.

Toga Freight will continue to operate from its Dublin 12 site and the new owners expect no fundamental changes to the business.

Toga employs 35 staff in Dublin and operates a private delivery network of 15 partners in Ireland, and works with eight in the UK , along with 11 forwarders across Europe.

It is also members of the Pangea Global Forwarding Network and has agents in the Far East, the US and Africa. In September 2023 Toga Freight re-qualified as a Deloitte Best Managed Company for the fourth year in a row.

The MBO team were advised on the deal by BDO Corporate Finance in Dublin and by the corporate law team at Byrne Wallace.

Darragh Toner, operations director commented: “It is a poignant time for me to become an owner of the business that my father founded in 1978. I’m sure he would be delighted that the family’s involvement is to continue for another generation. Toga is such a strong business operationally and we have some very exciting growth and development plans for the years ahead.”

Robert Dickinson added: “The new board have a defined and focussed strategy for stable and controlled growth, and we look forward to being able to offer additional services to our 5500+ customers in Ireland and across Europe. We are sure that our staff, who are a part of our Toga Family, will enjoy the stability that this MBO has produced and will continue to enjoy the journey we are on in developing and growing our business.”

Toga’s financial director, Muriel Corish, said: “The purchase of Martin’s shares was a straightforward process as the MBO team already had an intimate knowledge of the business for many years. We received very close support from Richard Duffy and his team at BDO who advised on all financial, funding and tax aspects of the transaction, whilst legal matters were handled by Eamonn Carey and the various department heads at Byrne Wallace. It was extremely reassuring to be advised by clear experts and leaders in their respective fields.”

Toga Freight has also joined the System Alliance Europe as the freight forwarding network’s 50th member.

Before Brexit, the UK accounted for 80% of Toga’s business but since Brexit, the company has quadrupled its volume with the EU, as a free flow of goods only became possible outside the UK. “We consider ourselves to be beneficiaries of Brexit and are excited about the new opportunities that have arisen for us,” said Robert Dickinson.

Toga Freight says SAE membership will fill gaps in its partner network in Portugal, Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland. Most of Toga Freight’s volume currently comes from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, and cooperation with SAE partners in these countries will play an important role.

Dickinson said: “We hope to be warmly welcomed, as we are European-minded just like the other members.”

Toga Freight handles around 300,000 groupage shipments a year, mainly to Ireland and around 200,000 customs declarations for 5,500 customers, including almost half of the top 100 manufacturers and retailers in Ireland.

With 50 employees at two locations in Dublin, the company operates a 6,000 square metre ACP customs warehouse where all inbound freight is processed. It alsomaintains a network of 15 depot partners in Ireland who provide daily scheduled transport to and from their own distribution centre with around 250 vehicles are used on behalf of Toga to deliver goods in Ireland. Turnover in the current year is estimated at around €12 million.

SAE chief operating officer Tassilo Schneider added: “We are proud to have a company like Toga Freight Services as a member, which has just been awarded Ireland’s Best Managed Company by Deloitte.”