Kuehne & Nagel buys Asian logistics firm Apex International

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss logistics firm Kuehne & Nagel said on Monday it would buy Asian logistics provider Apex International Corp from South Korea-based private equity company MBK Partners in the largest acquisition in its history.

A person with direct knowledge of the transaction said the deal would give Apex an enterprise value of between $1.5 billion to $2 billion, adding the deal was expected to close in April after obtaining regulatory approvals.

The two firms, which did not disclose financial details of the transaction, declined to comment on the amount. The person declined to be identified due to confidentiality constraints.

With approximately 1,600 employees, Apex generates annual turnover of more than 2.1 billion Swiss francs ($2.34 billion) and is one of Asia’s leading air freight forwarders, Kuehne & Nagel said in a statement.

The company said the deal would allow it to offer customers better services in the competitive Asian logistics industry, especially in e-commerce fulfilment, high-tech and e-mobility.

The acquisition will be financed by available liquid sources and, if needed, by available credit lines, Kuehne & Nagel said, adding a minor stake of Apex shares was to remain with the management of Apex which will continue to operate separately within the Kuehne & Nagel group.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, Kuehne & Nagel said.

Apex, which also offers ocean freight – specialising in trans-Pacific routes – as well as trucking and warehousing services, was bought by MBK Partners in 2015.

Since then, the company has made a number of synergistic add-on acquisitions and strengthened capabilities in cross-border e-commerce logistics, MBK said in a separate statement.

($1 = 0.8980 Swiss francs)

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