‘We Saw It Coming.’ Independent Operators React To Selecta’s Acquisition Of Pelican Rouge

Selecta announced its acquisition of Pelican Rouge midst much fanfare this morning, but leading UK vending operators agree: ‘everybody saw it coming’.

uk vending operators
Roger Williams

Coinadrink MD Roger Williams told PV, ‘This is no surprise, but as we have seen many times before in this industry, bigger is not always better. The only surprise is that it took so long. It was being talked about during Andrew Bristow’s time and as I understand it, he was opposed.

‘It will, no doubt, be bad news for the equipment suppliers, as Selecta will have more buying power leading to the inevitable pressure on their pricing. The same will apply to the ingredients suppliers. It might lead to a reduction in choice for us regionals as some suppliers may decide to exit the market.

‘But as is always the case ‘one door opens as another closes’ opportunities everywhere because of this. As a regional operator, I just see more blue sky and the certainty that we can reinforce our position as a dedicated regional operator. There will be many organisation who will prefer to deal with locally based companies rather than a large multi-national.

‘I see it as a major opportunity for all of us regionals –  we’re on the starting blocks and at the ready.’

Cevat Riza

However, Roger – as ever – sees thte other side of the coin. ‘Just imagine the operational complexities of putting these two organizations together’, he said, ‘not to forget the inevitable culture clashes and job losses.’

He’s got a point.

Meanwhile, Cevat Riza of Seymour Valentine was pragmatic. ‘They don’t even have to go to the monopolies commission because their combined business is less than 30% of the UK vending industry.

‘They’ve no unfair advantage over us at all. It is not all about price. This will create great opportunities for independent operators, especially dynamic groups such as the Wise group.’ Enigmatically, Cevat ended his comments: ‘and ultimately, two wrongs don’t make a right.

UK Vending Operators
Paul Ure

UK Vending Operator Paul Ure, whose ‘Options Management’ is based in Stafforshire, was a tad more cynical. ‘It’s been on the cards’, he told PV. These two organisations have had venture capital after venture capital pumped into them. Now, they’re getting ready to go on the warpath again; they’ve been hiring new salespeople. I’d like to think it won’t happen, but soon they’ll be back to burning little operators out.’

Another operator, who preferred not to be named, sent PV an e-mail.

‘I’m sure most of us were expecting it.  It’s been on the horizon for some time. I am quietly confident that Independent Operators and buying groups will still get a good deal.  From past experience suppliers will be aware that the fall out of such a merger may mean the independent’s seeing more success and will want to continue to support them.  Here’s hoping anyway!

‘If we, as independent UK vending operators, keep doing the right things with real focus on customer service, then whatever happens to Selecta and PR, we will be in a strong position.’ Graham Kingaby

‘The merger will undoubtedly mean consolidation, restructuring and a whole lot of uncertainty for their employees.  Past experience shows that the regional operators will have an advantage in my opinion, boasting local management, quick decisions and actions to customer queries or issues and generally more TLC.  The strengths that Independent Operators promote will only become more apt.’

Uk Vending Operators
Graham Kingaby

And finally – for now – NIVO boss Graham Kingaby offers his perspective: ‘This has been the worse kept secret on record, so no surprise! As to anything else, no one can predict the future impact this will have but I think we would be naive  to simply assume it will be bad for them and good for us. If we, as independent operators, keep doing the right things with real focus on customer service, then whatever happens to Selecta and PR, we will be in a strong position. If they do confound the majority and make a success of the merger, we will still be able to compete, because their version of ‘right’ will never be as good as ours! If they don’t, then our opportunity will be that much bigger.’

Planet Vending will continue to bring you comment and reaction from the most eminent UK Vending Operators and when we receive it.


Selecta to acquire Pelican Rouge to create a pan-Euroean vending champion – HERE

Pelican Rouge’s Tunnisen Tells Suppliers To Expect ‘Exciting New Opportunities’ – HERE

About the author

The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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