© Pavel Kapysh

And so it has come to pass (as Loadstar Premium indicated in February): Nippon Express is buying a majority stake in Austria’s Cargo-Partner for about €835m, its largest acquisition so far.

Nippon Express has been eyeing the wider world for some time, knowing Japan’s domestic market is not scheduled to see much growth. So it hopes Europe’s Cargo-Partner, which is also strong in the US and Asia will help propel its business forward.

Nippon said it had been working on a global strategy since 2019.

“As a result, we concluded that it is highly beneficial for us to welcome Cargo-Partner into our group in order to further strengthen the forwarding business through synergies and, by leveraging the competitive strengths of each company, create an even more active sales and marketing operation and increase our presence in the global market.”

It said it would focus on four areas: strengthening its European network and services; greater global air and sea volumes; supporting customers in Asia and Europe better; and developing synergies.

Cargo-Partner, which is celebrating its 40th birthday, has sales of more ¥300bn ($2.2bn) annually. Founded by Stefan Krauter, it began with just five staff at Vienna Airport, but has grown to some 4,000 in 40 countries.

“Leadership by agile founders bears considerable advantages, but from a certain stage on, highly professional and long-term stable ownership is the bigger asset,” said Mr Krauter.

“It would also have been a good option for the management and employees to continue going completely alone, but since the ideal new strategic owner was found in NX Group, we were ultimately convinced that this was the right way to go forward. Following the integration policy we have seen from NX Group so far, Cargo-Partner will remain Cargo-Partner, in regard to both organisation and branding – and it will become the strongest cargo partner ever.”

Mr Krauter added that both companies would enjoy “considerable synergies”. He said” “NX Group will benefit from our strong and extensive network in Central and Eastern Europe that complements NX’s existing network in an ideal way, and Cargo-Partner will jump several leagues in the intra-Asian and transpacific tradelanes.

“Cargo-Partner will also continue to work with its current global agent network, strive to expand this section of its business and support it in future with its upgraded platform which is under development.”

The deal will come into effect, following regulatory approval, by the end of the year.

Tomorrow: Loadstar Premium looks at the deal in depth.

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