Wednesday, July 17, 2019

As It Approaches Another Huge Purchase One of the Big Hitters in Freight and Logistics Explains

A Policy of Mergers and Acquisitions Have Served DSV Well for Over 40 Years
Shipping News Feature
DENMARK – SWITZERLAND – WORLDWIDE – As its takeover of the Panalpina logistics operation proceeds, so it seems somebody at road haulage and general freight group DSV has obviously decided to put their potential new colleagues collective minds at rest when the Swiss company becomes part of the other's operation.

We have recounted DSV’s interesting history before, how a bunch of Danish trucking companies decided that by acting as a cartage department for the nine owners they would have greater flexibility in their domestic market. De Sammensluttede Vognmænd af 13-7 1976 A/S being a little unwieldy as a title it soon became DSV and rapidly expanded overseas operations. A series of shrewd acquisitions followed culminating in the takeover of the DFDS Dan Transport Group in 2000.

A year later DSV split into three divisions, Road, Air & Sea and Solutions, and after more purchases, Frans Maas, ABX Logistics and even UTi Worldwide Inc, DSV found itself elevated to fifth position in the global freight forwarding league. Now it seems the time has come to let Panalpina staff know what to expect.

To drive home the point the company has produced a short video featuring some of the employees who have joined over the years, including current CEO Jens Bjørn Andersen. The information is clearly calculated to settle some of the uncertainty which inevitably follows among the employees of the target company, and sometimes within the acquiring company as well.

Staff in this position never quite know how it will affect their daily lives, jobs and careers, and they may also feel a sense of understandable deep belonging and loyalty to the target company. DSV says it has been fortunate in retaining many such employees who have gone on to have worthwhile careers within its respective divisions.

DSV makes no bones that it acquires companies to achieve further growth and to become a stronger player in the transport and logistics industry, and it says that the talented and hardworking employees from the target companies acquired often play a huge part in that. In many instances, becoming part of DSV can also open new doors. That was the case for Joerg Hinz when J.H. Bachmann was acquired in 2005, he recalls:

“Time flies when working in this company, I was offered different opportunities, each one perfect for the next step in my career. I moved to Chicago to work, and when I came back to Germany I was offered a position that was perfectly suited for me as well. I am not really a career-minded person, but always curious and eager to learn more and be challenged. Despite me turning down some promotions, DSV has given me every opportunity I ever asked for.”

For CEO Jens Bjørn Andersen, one door closing really was another one, and then another one, opening. Eventually, in 2008, he took over the role of CEO of DSV from Kurt K. Larsen, who had pulled up to Samson’s headquarters on that fateful day in 1997. He remembers:

“I could hardly believe it when the rumour started to circulate. DSV? Samson was in a whole other league, we thought. DSV-who? I remember standing at the balcony at Samson’s old headquarters and watching DSV’s executive team pull up, it was surreal. We could never have been what we are today without the numerous acquisitions over the years.”

Mergers and acquisitions then have played an essential part in securing DSV’s growth, each one adding to the scope of services and to the value of the group. Now it seems it is the turn of yet another of the industry’s big names, Panalpina, a group which employs 15,000 worldwide, to become part of the DSV operation.

Photo: CEO Jens Bjørn Andersen in reflective mood.