DP DHL to acquire ocean freight forwarder JF Hillebrand

DP DHL CEO Frank Appel

Deutsche Post DHL Group (DP DHL) has revealed plans to acquire ocean freight forwarding expert JF Hillebrand Group and its subsidiaries at an equity value of around €1.5bn.

The move follows the company recently admitting that it is taking an “opportunistic approach” to freight forwarding acquisitions, despite the spate of takeovers recently announced by some of its peers.

Hillebrand is a global service provider that specialises in ocean freight forwarding, the transport and logistics of beverages, non-hazardous bulk liquids and other products that require special care.

Hillebrand, which generated revenue of around €1.4bn over the last twelve months, will ship c.500,000 TEUs in 2021, and has more than 2,700 employees worldwide.

Frank Appel, chief executive of Deutsche Post DHL Group, commented: “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, chief executive of DHL Global Forwarding, Freight, added: “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.

“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 further develop their best-in-class business on our platform.”

Also this week, DHL Freight has commenced work on a new transshipment facility near the Frankfurt in Germany.

The facility will be comprised of three buildings: a cross-dock terminal; a warehouse for specialty chemicals and production materials; and office premises.

DHL Freight said the 82,840 sq m construction project is in-line with Deutsche Post DHL Group’s Sustainability Roadmap, which requires all new builds to be built sustainably.

Grass and plants have been incorporated into the design of the facility’s roof and the cross-dock terminal roof has the potential for photovoltaic panels, with a capacity of up to 1 MWp (megawatt peak), to be installed. 

Completion of the logistics centre is scheduled for mid-2022.

Thomas Vogel, chief executive of DHL Freight Germany, Austria and Switzerland, commented: “Demand for road transport and customized logistics continues to grow. As leading logistics experts, we’re often one the first points of contact when complex logistics requires efficient and effective solutions. We’re continuously expanding our network to ensure we can meet customers’ existing and future demands for excellence.

“Capacities at our previous site in Maintal no longer suffice. That’s why we’re delighted not only to be able to expand our storage and transshipment areas at the new site, but to do so by opening a modern, sustainable logistics center.”

A ceremony this month marking the launch of the project’s construction was attended by: Thorsten Stolz, head of Main-Kinzig District Authority; Stefan Erb, Mayor of Erlensee; Ferdinand Fäth, managing director at Fäth Immobilien; Thomas Vogel, chief executive of DHL Freight Germany, Austria and Switzerland; Götz Hanningsmann, site manager at Erlensee terminal and manager area central at DHL Freight; and Gero Schiffelmann, member of the management board at DHL Freight Germany.

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