Maersk weighs up DB Schenker bid

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Shipping giant AP Moller Maersk says it would now consider making an offer for top-4 airfreight forwarder DB Schenker after previously dismissing the idea.

Speaking after announcing its fourth-quarter results, chief executive Vincent Clerc said the company had now changed its mind on a possible bid for the forwarder given the sector’s resilient earnings post-Covid and also an apparent change of perception from shippers when it comes to a carrier also owning a forwarder.

He pointed to the CMA CGM Group’s ownership of CEVA Logistics as an example of his latter point.

“Our strategy is very clear, we need to diversify our revenue streams and our earning streams towards the more stable and less volatile part of the supply chain, which is pretty much anything outside ocean/2PL,” he said.

“In that respect, having something like a Schenker coming on the market is definitely something that Maersk cannot simply say we are not even going to look at.”

He added: “The reason for us doing that is the size of the deal and the fact that when a deal like this happens it will have a consequence whether we do the deal or do not do the deal because it will change the landscape in logistics depending on who does the deal. There is also a fundamental price issue and whether we could see a synergies case that is compelling.

“And then on the freight forwarding side, I think one of the things that has changed is the resilience of the earnings on the other side of Covid, which you can see when you look at both Schenker and some of its competitors.

“Also, the fact that we have one company in CMA [CGM] that has been able to house a 2pl and 3pl offering under the same roof and has been able to do that as far as we can see successfully.

“So certain de-synergies that we may have feared in the past may not be what we thought they were. It would not be responsible for us not to look into that and then we will see where this goes.”

DB Schenker’s current owner Deutsche Bahn announced at the end of last year that the forwarder was officially up for sale after spending a year mulling its options.

Interested parties had until January 15 to ask for extra information and until February 6 to submit their registration documents.

Air Cargo News sister title DVZ reports that in the first step, potential investors must provide information on eleven points.

In particular, interested parties should show they have experience with logistics M&A deals of this size and have the appropriate financial resources.

They must also explain what interest they have in Schenker and give an initial insight into their plans for the company if they were to win the contract.

The sales documents show that a complete sale is still the preferred option, although interest in less than 100% of the shares would be considered, so a partial sale is not completely ruled out either.

Companies rumoured to be interested include Maersk, MSC, DSV, UPS, DHL, DP World and Abu Dhabi Ports.

DVZ reports that as many as 25 companies could be interested in the forwarder. 

If Maersk were to be successful, the takeover would push the Danish company close to the top three airfreight forwarders.

Its volumes combined with existing Maersk air forwarding volumes would total 1.53m tonnes based on 2022 figures from Armstrong & Associates, just behind third-placed DSV on 1.56m tonnes.

However, DSV admitted that it recorded a below-market drop in volumes last year as airfreight volumes fell to 1.3m tonnes.

DB Schenker sale process underway as firm is officially on the market

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]