TDG takeover gets the go-ahead

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The European Commission has given the go-ahead for Norbert Dentressangle’s takeover of TDG and the sale is due to be completed on 28th March.

Norbert Dentressangle chief François Bertreau, said: “As anticipated in Norbert Dentressangle’s last announcement on 1 March 2011, the European Commission yesterday granted clearance for the sale of Laxey Logistics Ltd [TDG’s parent] to Norbert Dentressangle.”

When the £196m deal was announced on 29th November, the aim was to finalise the transaction by mid-January. However, the deal was delayed when European Commission called for more information on the transaction.

The Commission said the transaction would lead to horizontal overlaps between the activities of Norbert Dentressangle and TDG, mainly in the UK.

“However, in the markets for contract logistics, freight forwarding and road freight transport, the combined entity achieves only rather moderate market shares.”

The Commission also examined the parties’ position in possible narrower markets, including in particular the UK markets for contract logistics and for road freight transport of hazardous goods.

“The market investigation showed that, even after the acquisition of TDG, Norbert Dentressangle would continue to face competition from a number of important players also in such narrower markets. The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns.”

Following the buyout, 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.

TDG started life in 1922 as The General Lighterage Co Ltd initially moving products from ship to shore but it wasn’t until 1950 that it became a public limited company.

It changed its name to Transport Development Group in 1957 and expanded by buying up large regional transport and warehousing companies. Its European expansion started in 1963 and by 1974 had businesses in France and the Netherlands.

By the 1980s it had more than 100 subsidiary businesses including such names as Beck & Pollitzer and Harris Distribution and started on a process of consolidation. Non-core operations, include businesses in the US and Australia, were sold, and others were merged into larger divisions.

In 2004 TDG chief executive David Garman proposed a merger with Christian Salvesen but was rebuffed at that stage. Dentressangle came in with its bid for Salvesen in October 2007 valuing the company at £254.4m.

TDG became a privately owned company 2008 when it was sold to hedge fund Douglas Bay Capital with Mike Branigan taking over from David Garman as chief executive in 2009.

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