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Nippon Express acquisition of cargo-partner is confirmed

Austrian logistics provider cargo-partner will be sold to Japanese global logistics services company Nippon Express, the companies have confirmed after speculation dating back to last year.

Cargo-partner company owner and founder Stefan Krauter, who had already passed on control of the company to the management team, described Nippon Express as his “ideal successor”.

Newswire Nikkei Asia reports the deal is worth around $743m. Based on 2021 figures, the two forwarders will handle around 1.2m tonnes of air cargo, making the combined entity the fifth largest in the world in terms of air cargo volumes.

The deal was signed on May 12 and will come into effect subject to the usual regulatory approvals in an estimated four to seven months along with the subsequent closing.

Cargo-partner is expected to continue operating in its current form.

“Leadership by agile founders bears some considerable advantages, but from a certain stage on, highly professional and long-term stable ownership is the bigger asset. It is the founders’ challenge and responsibility to decide about both management and ownership succession at the right time,” said Krauter.

“Not too early to be able to build a stable internal management succession but, for sure, also not too late. That is why, together with the Corporate Executive Board, we started evaluating different options for the future of cargo-partner.”

He added: “It would also have been a good option for the management and employees to continue going completely alone, but since the ideal new strategic owner was found in NX Group, we were ultimately convinced that this was the right way to go forward.

“Following the integration policy we have seen from NX Group so far, cargo-partner will remain cargo-partner in regard to both organization and branding – and it will become the strongest cargo-partner ever!”

Last month, Nippon Express said “no particular facts have been decided” after media reports surfaced speculating about the acquisition. cargo-partner told Air Cargo News (ACN): “We do not comment on rumours.”

And in July last year, cargo-partner said it was considering its future ownership structure as Krauter prepared to step down.

The company told ACN at the time that the future of the company “is not limited to a wholly or partial change of controlling ownership”.

Krauter added: “Both organisations will benefit from considerable synergies in global office coverage, an expanded service portfolio, strengthened regional, product and IT know-how, increased scale and others.

“NX Group will benefit from our strong and extensive network in Central and Eastern Europe that complements NX’s existing network in an ideal way, and cargo-partner will jump several leagues in the Intra-Asian and Trans-Pacific trade lanes.

“cargo-partner will also continue to work with its current global agents’ network, strive to expand this section of its business and support it in future with its upgraded platform which is presently under development.”

Nippon Express said in a statement on May 12 that the acquisition supports its goal to become “a logistics company with a presence in the global market”.

The company plans to target business growth through the acquisition by strengthening its network and services in Europe by supplementing logistics business in the Central and Eastern Europe region, “where, as the production base for the European region, strong growth is expected”; and strengthening its competitiveness in global markets through an increase in air and sea forwarding volume.

The takeover of cargo-partner is also anticipated to address a variety of customer needs, especially by strengthening Nippon’s ability to meet the demand for logistics between Asia and Europe as well as reinforcing its global accounts team; plus “developing and creating synergies” between its logistics businesses.

Cargo-partner has 4,000 employees in 40 countries worldwide. After exceeding €1bn in global turnover for the first time in 2020, cargo-partner’s turnover increased by 72%, reaching over €1.8bn in 2021, and further increased to €2.06bn euro in 2022.

Krautner said he will support cargo-partner’s transition to its new owner through a new role on the Corporate Supervisory Board and as an advisor to the Corporate Executive Board.

“I will be focusing on smart partial integration with the new owners as well as on other matters regarding strategy, M&A and ESG,” he said.

Nippon Express: no decision on cargo-partner acquisition

cargo-partner weighs up ownership options as Stefan Krauter steps down

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