As cargo-partner is celebrating its 40th anniversary, company owner and founder Stefan Krauter has decided to sell the Austrian global logistics firm to Japanese stock-listed Nippon Express Holdings, the parent company of Nippon Express, APC, Franco Vago and others. Having started operations in 1983 with only five employees at Vienna Airport and having developed the company almost completely organically to now 4000 employees in 40 countries around the globe, Krauter had already passed on the baton to his management and now has also passed over ownership to his ‘ideal successor’, NX.
After exceeding the billion euro mark in global turnover for the first time in 2020, cargo-partner’s turnover increased by 72%, reaching over 1.8 billion euro in 2021, and further increased to 2.06 billion euro in 2022.
“Leadership by agile founders bears some considerable advantages, but from a certain stage on, highly professional and long-term stable ownership is the bigger asset. It is the founders’ challenge and responsibility to decide about both management and ownership succession at the right time. Not too early to be able to build a stable internal management succession but, for sure, also not too late,” Krauter says. “That is why, together with the Corporate Executive Board, we started evaluating different options for the future of cargo-partner.”
Stefan Krauter continues to explain: “It would also have been a good option for the management and employees to continue going completely alone, but since the ideal new strategic owner was found in NX Group, we were ultimately convinced that this was the right way to go forward. Following the integration policy we have seen from NX Group so far, cargo-partner will remain cargo-partner in regard to both organization and branding – and it will become the strongest cargo-partner ever!”
The deal was signed on May 12, 2023 and will come into effect subject to the usual regulatory (anti-trust and FDI) approvals in an estimated four to seven months along with the subsequent closing.
“Both organizations will benefit from considerable synergies in global office coverage, an expanded service portfolio, strengthened regional, product and IT know-how, increased scale and others. NX Group will benefit from our strong and extensive network in Central and Eastern Europe that complements NX’s existing network in an ideal way, and cargo-partner will jump several leagues in the Intra-Asian and Trans-Pacific trade lanes,” Stefan Krauter states. He adds: “cargo-partner will also continue to work with its current global agents’ network, strive to expand this section of its business and support it in future with its upgraded platform which is presently under development.”
“I will personally continue to support the transition in my new role on the Corporate Supervisory Board and in my advisory function to the Corporate Executive Board. I will be focusing on smart partial integration with the new owners as well as on other matters regarding strategy, M&A and ESG. What an interesting and rewarding challenge at the end of my career!” Krauter says. The sellers have been advised by J.P. Morgan (financial), ValueAdd (financial), BCG (commercial), Schönherr (legal), and Deloitte (accounting and tax) on the transaction.
Nippon Express is a provider of logistics services. It is based in Tokyo and has a strong global network that spans over 40 countries, with company direct operations in 33 nations, such as Austria. The company offers air freight, marine transportation, heavy haulage, warehousing and distribution processing, logistics design, information technology services, chartered truck services and moving services.