Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Container Feeder Line Acquired by Port and Logistics Group

Shortsea Operator Changes Hands - Again
Shipping News Feature
DUBAI – DENMARK – Global ports operator DP World is expanding its European logistics network with the acquisition of Danish container feeder and shortsea operator, Unifeeder for €660 million, from Nordic Capital Fund VIII and certain minority shareholders. Unifeeder will continue to operate on a fully independent, multi-user basis under its current existing management, and expects to see additional growth as a consequence of the transaction.

DP World says the acquisition of Unifeeder, only acquired by Nordic in 2013 for an undisclosed sum, will enhance the port and logistics group’s presence in the global supply chain and broaden its product offering to shipping lines and cargo owners with a view to ultimately reduce inefficiencies and improve the competitiveness of global trade. It insists the current operations of Unifeeder are complementary to DP World’s existing business and provides future growth opportunities. Nordic had already sold off shares to Danica Pension who bought around €54 million of the stock in 2014.

Unifeeder, founded in 1977, is an integrated logistics company with the largest and possibly best-connected feeder and shortsea network in Northern Europe with connectivity to almost 100 ports. The company provides transport solutions for international container shipping lines between international and regional ports and shortsea services to cargo owners with fully multimodal door-to-door solutions, combining seaborne transportation with road and/or rail. The business is cash generative and operates on a highly flexible cost base. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said:

“We are delighted to add the Unifeeder brand under the DP World umbrella, which supports our strategy to grow in complementary sectors, strengthen our product offering and play a wider role in the global supply chain as a trade enabler. The ever-growing deployment of ultra-large container vessels has made high-quality connectivity from hub terminals crucial for our customers and Unifeeder is a best-in-class logistics provider in this space with a strong reputation in Europe.

”Our aim is to leverage on the in-house expertise of Unifeeder and to accelerate growth in this scalable platform to deliver value for all stakeholders. Unifeeder operates on the same common-user principle as DP World and adds to the Group’s strong value proposition to international shipping lines and end cargo owners in making the global supply chain more efficient and cost effective.”

Unifeeder reported revenue of €510 million in 2017 and EBIT margins in line with other asset-light logistics operators. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and expected to be earnings accretive in the first full year after completion. It will be financed from existing balance sheet resources and is expected to close in 4Q 2018. Jesper Kristensen, CEO, Unifeeder, said:

“We are excited to join the DP World Group as we believe that Unifeeder will benefit from the Group’s significant expertise in the wider supply chain and excellent relationships with shipping lines and end cargo owners. Not only is there commonality with our business models but we also share the vision of serving our customers through removing inefficiencies and delivering sustainable shareholder value.

“We have enjoyed great success over the last five years under Nordic Capital’s ownership, and we believe that the Unifeeder brand within the DP World Group has the opportunity to accelerate growth, expand further and take the business to the next level. By having an owner as dedicated to customer centric, multi-user solutions as the ones Unifeeder provides, we will continue to build ‘best in class’ services, coverage and connectivities.

”Our increased outreach and international scope, will facilitate that we can serve our clients even more broadly and with even more scale and competitiveness. Hence, together with our new owner, we will strive to further improve our offering and further optimise the transhipment markets and the supply chains in Europe and beyond - to the benefit of our clients in particular and the cargo in general.”