DP World Acquires European Logistics Firm Unifeeder for 660 Million Euros

Photo: Unifeeder

Some big news this week from one of the world’s top port operators and self-proclaimed global trade enabler.

On Tuesday, Dubai-based DP World announced plan to acquire 100% of Unifeeder, the largest container feeder and growing shortsea network operator in Europe, for 660 million euros.

DP World said the acquisition from Nordic Capital Fund VIII and certain minority shareholders will help enhance its presence in the global supply chain and broaden its product offering to its customers, namely shipping lines and cargo owners, helping reduce inefficiencies and improve the competitiveness of global trade.

Based in Aarhus, Denmark, Unifeeder operates the largest and most densely-connected container feeder service in Europe and has a growing shortsea network, serving both deep-sea container hubs and the intra-Europe container freight market, according to a DP World press release.

“The company provides efficient and sustainable 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,” DP World said.

Unifeeder reported revenue of €510 million in 2017 and EBIT margins in line with other asset-light logistics operators.

The acquisition is still subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be earnings accretive in the first full year after completion.

DP World said the acquisition will be financed from existing balance sheet resources and is expected to close in 4Q 2018.

“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,” said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World.

“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,” Sulayem added.

Container handling is at the core DP World’s business and generates more than three quarters of its revenue. In 2017, DP World handled 70.1 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) across its global portfolio. With its committed pipeline of developments and expansions, the current gross capacity of 88.2 million TEU is expected to rise to more than 100 million TEU by 2020.

Unifeeder operates approximately 60 short-term chartered vessels, carrying around 3.2m TEUs and performing some 12,000 port calls annually. The company has around 400 employees and representatives in 25 countries.