The number of mergers and acquisitions deals undertaken by the largest European logistics companies leapt by 23% in 2003, suggesting that an appetite for acquisitive growth has returned to the industry. However, levels are still only at 60% of the peak reached in 2000. The annual survey, contained in Transport Intelligence’s recent recent report, European Logistics Strategies 2004 , showed that 52 major deals were conducted in 2003, an increase from 42 in 2002.
Within Europe, Germany saw the greatest number of deals completed. Not only has a certain amount of confidence returned to the German industry, but the market is well placed to act as a spring board for east European expansion. At the periphery of Europe, fast growing Turkey was one of the most popular countries with Deutsche Post, Exel, GeoPost and Tibbett & Britten entering the market through joint ventures.
Deutsche Post again led the way as far as number and value of deals was concerned. Its purchase of Airbourne Express in the US (estimated to be worth more than £800m) was the largest single deal of the year, but it reinforced this with the acquisition with the remaining shares in Securicor Omega (UK), Lookis (Canada), Ascoli (Italy), part of Sinotrans (China) as well as purchases in several other regions. Exel (spending around £100m) and Kuehne & Nagel were also amongst the most acquisitive.
European Logistics Strategies 2004 costs £400, and can be purchased from www.transportintelligence.com