Deutsche Post DHL Group (“DPDHL”) has signed an agreement to acquire up to 100% of J.F. Hillebrand Group AG (“Hillebrand”) and its subsidiaries at an equity value of around €1.5 billion. Hillebrand is a global service provider specializing in ocean freight forwarding, transport and logistics of beverages, non-hazardous bulk liquids and other products that require special care. Hillebrand generated revenue of around €1.4 billion in the last twelve months, will ship c.500,000 TEUs in 2021 and has more than 2,700 employees worldwide.
The strategic combination of Hillebrand with DHL’s Global Forwarding, Freight (“DHL”) division will strengthen the Group’s position in the dynamic ocean freight forwarding market. Focusing on core logistics is a key element of the Group’s Strategy 2025, prioritising selected inorganic growth given to specific, strategically relevant activities.
“With the growing maturity of our freight forwarding business, this bolt-on acquisition of Hillebrand is highly complementary to our existing portfolio. In line with our Group Strategy, we strengthen our core logistics business and deliver profitable long-term growth”, says Frank Appel, CEO Deutsche Post DHL Group. “Using our financial strength, we can pursue quality investments while reinforcing our unchanged commitment to deliver on investor return expectations.”
“After concentrating on improving the business operationally, we are now able to direct our core business towards sustainably higher margins by broadening our reach and service offering in specialized segments”, notes Tim Scharwath, CEO DHL Global Forwarding, Freight. “In this context, Hillebrand is an exceptional opportunity and an excellent fit with our strategy. We are excited to work with the entire Hillebrand team to develop their best-in-class business on our platform further.”
Hillebrand is recognized as a market expert in ocean freight forwarding, focusing on beverages, non-hazardous bulk liquids, using innovative flexitanks and ISO tank containers. DHL will benefit from Hillebrand’s know-how and customer experience in bulk liquids and other adjacent special care commodities, to leverage the positive underlying growth pattern of these products. It also offers a wide range of value-added services, which will now be available to DHL customers, driving continuous outstanding service quality and exceptional customer experience. These services include industry-leading customer-facing tools with best in class IT systems, as well as end-to-end service offers in the fast-growing bulk liquids segments, including own flexitank productions being the industry benchmark in this sector.
Hillebrand will, in turn, benefit from DHL Global Forwarding, Freight’s large scale network in over 190 countries and global forwarding expertise in air, ocean and road freight to ensure strong development opportunities for the business and its employees.
“Hillebrand is a leading ocean freight forwarder specialized in transport, logistics and supply chain management of beverages, non-hazardous bulk liquids and other products that require special care. Deutsche Post DHL Group is a major global logistics company – the two companies are a perfect match, and we are pleased to announce our agreement to unite and form a future together. I am proud of what the Hillebrand teams in true collaboration with our loyal customers and vendors have built over our 177-year history, and we now look forward to joining forces with Deutsche Post DHL Group”, comments Cees van Gent, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board J.F. Hillebrand Group.
For DHL, the deal aims to include additional services within the comprehensive range of ocean freight products DHL already offers its customers globally. As a result, it is expected, this transaction will generate healthy margins in a fast-growing business.
“The acquisition of Hillebrand is a unique opportunity for Deutsche Post DHL Group to add high-quality ocean freight services with strong margin characteristics and high cash flow generation. We expect this transaction to be earnings and cash flow accretive from day one”, confirms Melanie Kreis, CFO Deutsche Post DHL Group.
The transaction is subject to merger control clearance in certain jurisdictions, inter alia the EU and the US. Such clearances are expected in the coming months. DPDHL intends to fund the acquisition with available cash.
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