Panalpina swoops on another perishables forwarder while profits rise in Q2

Panalpina has again expanded its perishables network with the acquisition of a majority stake in South African firm Skyservices, while it has also announced its results for the second quarter.
The Switzerland-headquartered forwarder said the acquisition of Skyservices gives it a presence in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Details of the deal have not been disclosed.
The move will enable end-to-end solutions for perishables from South Africa to Europe, the Middle East, Far East and the US, Panalpina said.
Panalpina chief executive Stefan Karlen said: “The acquisition of Skyservices allows us to rapidly become a major player in South Africa’s perishables market.
“The majority of the company’s export volumes go to London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, where we have a strong perishables expertise and can therefore offer end-to-end solutions to customers.
“Given the strategic role that South Africa plays for the global trade of perishables today and tomorrow, it is only logical that we establish our own presence there and further strengthen the ever-growing Panalpina Perishables Network.
“Our non-perishables cargo into South Africa will continue to be handled by our agent Bidvest Panalpina.”
Perishables make up 40% of South Africa’s airfreight exports. Top commodities are fresh cut flowers, subtropical and deciduous fruit, various specialist vegetables, berries, meat and fish. The most important destination countries served by Skyservices are the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, the UAE and US.
“We have found an ideal partner in Panalpina to further grow our successful business and offer end-to-end solutions for perishables into Europe, but also the Middle East, Far East and US,” added Bernd Julicher, managing director of Skyservices.
“Panalpina’s global network and vast perishables expertise will also be invaluable for serving new and increasingly important destination markets like China.”
Skyservices started operations in May 2000 and is fully owned by Bernd Julicher, Frik van Rooyen and Jaco van Zijverden.
Julicher will continue to lead the company’s 52 employees in Johannesburg and Cape Town as managing director. Skyservices runs a 2,000 m2 warehouse inside O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, and a purpose-built, new 1,700 m2 warehouse just outside Cape Town International Airport.
Earlier this year, the forwarder announced the purchase of Argentina’s Newport Cargo, another perishables specialist.
Over recent years, Panalpina has increased its perishables activities in several countries – including Kenya, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium – since launching its Perishables Network in April 2017.
In February this year, meanwhile, it made three of its longstanding agents full members of the network: Cropa (Guatemala and Honduras), MIT Cargo (Sri Lanka) and TML (Pakistan).
While the sector may not offer the highest margins, it does add regular flows of cargo, often in the back-haul direction.
Meanwhile, the company also announced its second-quarter results today. Forwarding revenues for the period increased 10.9% year on year to Sfr1.5bn, earnings before interest and tax are up 18.2% to Sfr30.3m and profits increased 3.8% on last year to Sfr19.5m.
On the airfreight front, its second-quarter volumes were up 3.7% to 249,000 tonnes, compared with estimated market growth of 4%, and gross profits were up by 18%.
Karlen said: “Half way through 2018 we can say that Panalpina is on track. Ocean freight broke even again in the second quarter as a result of strict cost control and recovering volumes from April to June. Sustained margins in both air and ocean freight and the reliable performance in logistics led to sound half-year results.
“We are pleased with the progress we made, especially when considering that we are working diligently on major transformation projects while focusing on accelerated growth at the same time.
“For the second half-year we expect accelerated volume growth for our air and ocean Freight activities.
“2017 was a record air freight year though, so the comparison will be tough, and uncertainties in international relationships will increase volatility in the air and ocean freight markets and possibly change trade patterns.
“Regardless of the market environment, we are determined to stay focused on executing our strategy as we continue to build a robust and efficient organisation that can deliver sustainable, profitable growth.”
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