3PL Acquisition and Expansion Activity Continues

Deutsche Post World Net (DPWN), which recently announced it would acquire the U.K.’s Exel, is unlikely to try to acquire TNT’s logistics operations. (TNT announced earlier it would exit the contract logistics business and concentrate on mail and express.)

Following approval of the Exel acquisition by the British High Court December 9th, Deutsche Post’s CEO reportedly stated the group would not consider another acquisition of that size for at least two years. It would, however, consider other, smaller acquisitions. That would appear to preclude DPWN making any attempt for TNT’s logistics business.

Transport Intelligence reported that DPWN’s Dr. Klaus Zumwinkel also ruled out a move into port operations. DPWN had been rumored to be in a three-way face off for Hamburg’s HHLA. Other contenders for the German port logistics group include Schenker and Rhenus. Schenker, which is a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn’s Stinnes AG, will have the BAX Global acquisition to look forward to as well.

Elsewhere in Europe, the European Commission approved a plan for the financial restructuring of ABX Logistics. Earlier, ABX France was sold in management buyout.

The ABX network was formed through acquisitions made by the Belgian Railways. The Belgian government announced the restructuring in 2002 and has led to interest from an unnamed private equity firm that would take over 100% of the company shares.

TDG and Christian Salvesen, whose merger talks broke down over a year ago, continue to strive for growth. TDG’s cautious statements about profits include some progress, but an overall margin of just 4.06%. Despite warnings over 2006 profits, TDG says it is looking at several potential acquisitions.

Christian Salvesen, similarly challenged to make its 2.89% margin, announced a 50:50 strategic alliance with APL Logistics.

The question raised by Transport Intelligence in a recent analysis is just how long these medium-sized logistics providers can remain independent given that either they or their alliance partners could be acquired by some larger player.

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