Kuehne+Nagel announced that it is acquiring one of the largest Asia-based freight forwarders, Apex International Corporation, for an undisclosed amount — in a deal that would further expand the Germany-based firm's operation in the Asia Pacific and will position it as the world’s largest airfreight forwarder.


In a statement, Kuehne+Nagel cited Apex yearly turnover in excess of CHF 2.1 billion (US$2.34 billion). It said last year, the Asian freight forwarder handled a total air freight volume of approximately 750,000 tons and sea freight volume of 190,000 TEUs.


Apex has approximately 1,600 employees.


“The combination of Apex and Kuehne+Nagel provides us with an opportunity to offer our customers a compelling proposition in the competitive Asian logistics industry, especially in e-commerce fulfilment, hi-tech and e-mobility. We are looking forward to welcoming the Apex colleagues to the Kuehne+Nagel family,” said Dr. Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG.


Tony Song, chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Apex, noted that Kuehne+Nagel would be a “strategic shareholder” that would  “add value" to its customers and existing operations.


“With Kuehne+Nagel, we have found a strategic shareholder and logistics group with more than 130 years of heritage. We are sure that with this transaction, we will be able to add value to our customers’ supply chains and expand our global logistics network. We will complement Kuehne+Nagel’s existing global Air Logistics team while offering our management and key talents unique career opportunities,” it said.


Dr. Joerg Wolle, chairman of the Board of Directors Kuehne + Nagel International AG, noted that “in the past years, Kuehne+Nagel strategically and with great efforts expanded and developed its business in Asia Pacific.” He said that the company continues to further accelerate its growth and impact in the region.


“Asia Pacific has consistently proven to be one of the most important drivers of global trade. The acquisition of Apex is a further important cornerstone in our strategy and significant fulfilment of the Group’s Asia Pacific ambition,” he said.


The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including merger clearance by the competent competition authorities.


Kuehne+Nagel said the purchase price will be financed by available liquid sources and, if needed, by available credit lines. Following the closing of the transaction, a minor stake of Apex shares is to remain with the experienced and entrepreneurial management of Apex.


Furthermore, the company will then continue to operate separately within the Kuehne+Nagel Group.


Apex is one of Asia’s leading freight forwarders, especially in the transpacific and intra-Asia. The company was founded in China in 2001 and has expanded throughout Asia and beyond over the years.


“At this point, both parties have agreed to not disclose any further transaction details,” the statement added. Apex was however valued at around US$1.5 billion according to a Bloomberg report.