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Connect Group plc

02/15/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/15/2018 01:07

Disposal of Books Division to Aurelius

This announcement contains inside information

Connect Group PLC

('Connect Group' or 'the Group')

Disposal of Books division to Aurelius Equity Opportunities

Further to its announcements on 21 December 2017 (Disposal of Books Division) and 1 February 2018 (Update on the Disposal of the Books division to Aurelius Equity Opportunities) Connect Group PLC announces that it has agreed revised terms and completed the disposal of its Books division ('Connect Books') to the listed pan-European mid-market investor Aurelius Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA ('Aurelius'), for a total cash consideration of £6m which was paid at completion.

The disposal is in line with the Group's announcement at its preliminary results in October 2017 that Connect Books would be held for sale and its financial performance excluded from continuing operations. Proceeds of the sale will be used to reduce the Group's debt and the Group's attention can now be wholly focused on the integration and transformation of its core businesses, comprising Smiths News, DMD, Tuffnells Parcels Express and Pass My Parcel.

Mark Cashmore, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

'We are pleased to complete the sale of Connect Books to Aurelius Equity Opportunities. The disposal will allow the Group to concentrate on its transformation strategy while ensuring the Books business is able to prosper under new and focused ownership.

The Group will announce its interim financial results for the six months ending 28 February 2018 on 1 May 2018.

Enquiries:

About Connect Group

Connect Group PLC is a UK based specialist distributor and a leading provider of distribution solutions in complex and fragmented markets. The Group's networks are focused on serving high drop density early morning deliveries, and the demands of mixed and irregular sized freight.

The Group's core businesses are each leading players in their markets:

Early Distribution

Smiths News is the UK's largest newspaper and magazine wholesaling business with an approximate 55 per cent. market share. It distributes newspapers and magazines on behalf of the major national and regional publishers, delivering to approximately 27,000 customers across England and Wales on a daily basis. The speed of turnaround and density of Smiths News' coverage is critical to one of the world's fastest physical supply chains.

Pass My Parcel is a wholly owned Click & Collect service which leverages our combined networks to provide efficient solutions for online and high street retailers. Its network of parcelshops provides national consumer reach for deliveries and returns. Bespoke services for larger clients, serving their early morning and in-store requirements are a recent development in this rapidly evolving sector.

Dawson Media Direct supplies newspapers, magazines and inflight entertainment technology and content to over 80 airlines in 50 countries. Delivering to strict time windows with security accreditation, DMD serves the specialist needs of airlines and travel points in the UK and worldwide with printed and digital media.

Mixed Freight

Tuffnells is a leading distributor of mixed and irregular freight, serving approximately 5,000 small and medium sized enterprises across the UK. Its network of 37 depots collects and delivers mixed parcel freight consignments, specialising in items of irregular dimension and weight ('IDW'), examples of which include bulky items, building materials and automotive parts. With a mix of local and national clients, Tuffnells completes up to 70,000 daily deliveries, offering a range of timed services that are responsive to customer demand.