05 July 2021
SCHINDELLEGI, Switzerland: Kuehne+Nagel is the world largest freight handler for flowers. The company has agreed to sell to Partners Group, a leading global private markets firm, a 24.9% equity stake in Apex International Corporation (“Apex” or “the Company”). Following the transaction, Partners Group will join majority shareholder Kuehne+Nagel Group with a seat on the Apex Board.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Shanghai, Apex is one of Asia’s leading freight forwarders. This applies especially on the transpacific and intra-Asia trade routes. The Company has around 1,600 employees across 41 locations globally. In 2020, Apex generated turnover of CHF 2.2 billion, gross profit of CHF 296 million and earnings before taxes of CHF 126 million. The company ranked seventh in terms of global air freight forwarding volume.
Value creation plan
Partners Group will work alongside Kuehne+Nagel to implement a transformational value creation plan for Apex together with the Company’s management team. Key initiatives include establishing new freight forwarding routes. The aim is to identify new growth verticals, such as healthcare; and M&A.
Yngve Ruud is Executive Vice President Air Logistics, Kuehne+Nagel International AG, Chairman of Apex. He comments: “We welcome the addition of Partners Group as a shareholder. By combining the financial and strategic expertise of Partners Group with the industry heritage and experience of Kuehne+Nagel, Apex will have access to a powerful partnership. This partnership will allow us to consolidate our position in China and further develop the Company.”
Dr. Marcel Erni is Co-Founder, Member of the Board of Directors, Partners Group. He says: “Apex is a leading player in the China cross-border freight forwarding market. The company has a growing international presence and significant potential for further expansion. We have long admired the Company and its management team. We are excited to be able to contribute to its future growth. Similarly, we are delighted to partner with Kuehne+Nagel. This company is known for being one of the world’s longest-established logistics companies. Kuehne and Nagel blends private equity with leading logistics industry expertise.”
Dr. Joerg Wolle is Chairman of the Board, Kuehne + Nagel International AG. He states: “The Kuehne and Nagel Board initiated the strategic focus on expansion in Asia three years ago. This focus is paying off in terms of organic growth supported by acquisitions. We believe Partners Group is an ideal partner for Kuehne+Nagel.”
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. This includes clearance by the competent merger control authorities. Apex will then continue to operate separately within the Kuehne+Nagel Group.