Norbert buys TDG

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Norbert Dentressangle is to buy TDG from Douglas Bay Capital in a deal worth £196m.

The acquisition is due to be completed on 10th January 2011, subject to the agreement of European competition authorities.

Dentressangle expects the move to strengthen its offerings across transport, logistics and freight forwarding, and to further its internationalisation.

TDG had sales of £662 million in 2009 and an EBITDA of £33 million, with 74 per cent of that from the UK. Logistics made up 54 per cent of its 2009 revenues, but it also provides transport services and freight forwarding to Asia, Turkey and the Americas.

François Bertreau, chief executive officer of Norbert Dentressangle, said: “This transaction consolidates our presence in each of our three sectors and considerably strengthens our freight forwarding business, allowing us to better meet the needs of our clients at international level. I am confident in our ability to integrate TDG quickly and effectively, improving our services to clients and making the most of best practice on both sides.”

Bertreau said that the priority will be to integrate TDG into the Norbert business as soon as possible. He does not anticipate any job losses in operations, although there may be a restructuring of the TDG headquarters in Manchester.

Dentressangle reckons it will have largest wholly-owned fleet in Europe with more than 8,000 tractor units and 11,000 trailers. TDG vehicles will be rebranded in the Norbert Dentressangle livery over the next two years.

Following the buy out, 53 per cent of Norbert’s business will be road transport with 1.95 billion euros in revenues. 44 per cent of the business will be logistics with 1.6 billion euros in revenues and nearly 6.5 million square metres of warehousing; and 3 per cent will come from freight forwarding, with revenues of 100 million euros.

Norbert Dentressangle operates from 19 countries in Europe, North America and Asia, and generated revenues of £2.2 billion in 2009.

* Malory Davies writes: On the face of it, Douglas Bay appears to have made a loss on the deal – it bought TDG in the summer of 2008 in a deal that valued the business at £203 million.

However, a key part of the strategy was to move the logistics operations to an “asset-light” business model and maximising the return from TDG’s extensive property portfolio.

In the half year results released in August, Douglas Bay revealed £41m of property sales in the first half and said it had now paid off 80 per cent of the debt originally taken on to buy TDG.

The deal also finally brings together TDG and Christian Salvesen. In 2004, TDG chief executive David Garman approached the Salvesen board about a possible deal but was rebuffed at that stage.

It was in October 2007 that Dentressangle came in with its bid for Salvesen which valued the company at £254.4m.

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