Swiss logistics company Kuehne & Nagel revealed it would acquire Apex International Corp, the Asian logistics provider, from private equity firm MBK Partners, its largest acquisition to date.
The deal gave Apex an enterprise value of $1.5 billion to $2 billion and was scheduled to close in April after receiving regulatory approvals, said an individual with direct knowledge of the transaction.
Both companies, which did not reveal the transaction’s financial information, declined to comment on the number. Due to confidentiality restrictions, the person declined to be named.
The selling comes during an industry consolidation in Asia, particularly China, triggered by an e-commerce boom during the COVID-19 pandemic.
China’s S.F. Holding Co has offered to acquire a 51.8 per cent interest in Hong Kong-listed Kerry Logistics Networks Ltd. In contrast, C.J. Logistics Corp of South Korea has agreed to sell its China business to FountainVest Partners.
Apex, one of the leading air freight forwarders in Asia with about 1,600 staff, produces more than 2.1 billion Swiss francs ($2.34 billion) in annual turnover, Kuehne & Nagel said.
Bernstein analysts said that Apex was established in China and remains mainly based on the Asian country, giving Kuehne & Nagel the local relationships it has sought.
Kuehne & Nagel said the transaction would be funded from liquid sources and, if necessary, credit lines, allowing it to provide better services in Asia. It mentioned that, with the management of Apex, which would function separately within the Kuehne & Nagel Group, a minor stake in Apex shares would remain.
Kuehne & Nagel said the deal is subject to customary closing terms. In pre-market trading after the announcement, the company’s stock grew 1.9 per cent.
In 2015, MBK bought Apex, which also provides ocean freight, trucking and warehousing services. It has since made several acquisitions and improved its cross-border e-commerce logistics capabilities, MBK said.