UK'S NFC PLANS EXPANSION IN US ACQUISITIONS KEY TO DRIVE

UK'S NFC PLANS EXPANSION IN US ACQUISITIONS KEY TO DRIVE

A British company, NFC PLC, plans to expand its U.S. distribution/logistics and home delivery service network.

NFC could accomplish the expansion through normal growth of its existing companies, but this may not be fast enough, said John "Jack" Mather, the company's chief executive officer."We'll buy if the price is right," Mr. Mather said during a recent interview.

NFC owns Distribution Centers Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, and Dauphin Dis- tribution Services Inc. of Mechanicsburg, Pa. In April, DCI and Dauphin, which

serve non-food and food product manufacturers, respectively, began operating under the Excel Logistics name.

Bedford, England-based NFC also owns Allied Van Lines Inc. of Chicago and Merchants Home Delivery Services Inc. of Oxnard, Calif.

But it's the distribution and logistics units NFC will concentrate on as the company embarks on its ambitious expansion plans.

At present, Mr. Mather said, Dauphin can handle shipments along the Eastern seaboard. "But we need the Sun Belt and the West Coast, particularly California, and we need to fill in the Midwest," he said.

NFC also is looking to begin operations in Canada, he said.

NFC will target companies whose owners would like to sell, but are concerned about the future security of their employees, the executive said.

"We appeal to the sort of chap who wants a good home for his business," Mr. Mather said.

Citing the confidentiality of ongoing negotiations, Mr. Mather declined to disclose his company's specific acquisition plans, but he did say NFC is prepared to pay up to $100 million (the sum it paid in February 1986 to buy Allied) to acquire businesses that will help it complete a coast-to-coast network. "But we will not buy companies that overlap," he said.

NFC will rely on increasing its customer base to expand business at its Merchants Home Delivery unit, Mr. Mather said. The Merchants unit counts Levitz Furniture Co. and Sears, Roebuck & Co. among its furniture and retail shipper customers.

The same strategy will prevail at Allied, Mr. Mather said. NFC believes too much effort is required to carve out a respectable presence in the U.S. transportation market, so the company will mark any increase in trucking endeavors in Europe, Mr. Mather said.

Besides its distribution/logistics home delivery business in the United States, NFC operates parcel delivery, tank truck and contract carrier services in the United Kingdom.

NFC also has retail travel and real estate operations.

The U.K. giant is aggressively adding to its transport operations on the European Continent.