Deutsche Post DHL announces acquisition of ocean freight forwarder J.F. Hillebrand Group

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The 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.



Deutsche Post DHL announces acquisition of ocean freight forwarder J.F. Hillebrand Group
Photo: DHL

Hillebrand, which specializes in ocean freight forwarding, transport and logistics of beverages, non-hazardous bulk liquids and other products that require special care, has generated revenue of around €1.4 billion in the last twelve months. It is expected to ship c.500,000 TEUs in 2021, and has more than 2,700 employees worldwide.

DPDHL says the acquisition will strengthen the Group’s position in the dynamic ocean freight forwarding market. The Group adds that it is focusing on core logistics as a key element of its strategy.

Commenting on the deal, Frank Appel, CEO Deutsche Post DHL Group, said that the DPDHL’s financial strength gives it the means to “pursue quality investments”:

“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. Using our financial strength, we are able to pursue quality investments while reinforcing our unchanged commitment to deliver on investor return expectations.”

Tim Scharwath, CEO of DHL Global Freight Forwarding, also referred to the acquisition  as “an exceptional opportunity and an excellent fit” DPDHL’s strategy.

In a statement, DHL said it would benefit from Hillebrand’s “know-how and customer experience in bulk liquids and other adjacent special care commodities”.

As a result of the deal, Hillebrand services, including customer facing tools and end-to-end service offers in the fast-growing bulk liquids segments, will be made available to DHL customers.

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.”

DHL expects the transaction to “generate healthy margins”.

“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 says it intends to fund the acquisition with available cash.

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