German Post Acquires Three More Firms

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BONN - The German Post continued its global buying binge unabated last month, adding three more related businesses to the stable it has bought over the last six months.

Danzas, the global Swiss logistics company the Germans bought last year, made a tender offer on April 26 to buy ASG, a leading Swedish road, air and sea transport firm. The purchase price is 374 million euros ($398 million).

ASG is active across Scandinavia in a broad range of transportation and delivery services. Last year it had sales of 1.35 billion euros ($1.43 billion) and profits of 19.8 million euros.

The new grouping, ASG CEO Joerg Ekberg said, "would be the only truly pan-European partner for integrated third-party logistics."

German Post CEO Dr. Klaus Zumwinkel called the acquisition "another milestone in the internationalization of our business. It will allow us to improve our logistic offerings in Scandinavia and to complete the Europe-wide parcel network we are building for 330 million customers."

At the press conference following Deutsche Post AG's annual meeting earlier this month, Zumwinkel announced outright purchase of the Swiss parcel delivery service Qualipac, and the taking of an 80-percent stake in German delivery firm ITG.

Unlike previous acquisitions, such as the planned purchase of the Dutch Nedlloyd (see April 19 DM News International, p. 8), Deutsche Post did not make public the purchase price for either company.

Qualipac is the third-ranked parcel delivery service in Switzerland behind Quick step parcel service AG, which the Germans bought in 1997. Quick step ranks behind the Swiss post office in the number of parcels delivered.

The acquisition, Zumwinkel told reporters in Bonn, "confirms our status as number two on the Swiss parcel delivery market." Qualipac employs 180 people and had 1998 sales of 21 million Swiss francs ($14 million).

ITG specializes in the textile industry where it handles everything from delivery to quality control. It should help the Deutsche Post push growth in the value added field. The company has annual sales of 150 million marks ($83.3 million).

Zumwinkel amended preliminary figures for 1998 released in March. Profits rose 70 percent to DM 1.3 billion while sales rose 4 percent to DM 28.7 billion.

He projected sales of DM 50 billion in 2000, the year the Deutsche Post plans to go public, following the lead of the German phone company. Most of the recent expansion is designed to burnish the company's image for the stock exchange.

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