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            june 25, 2019

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Alpine chatter mulls merger of K+N and Panalpina as events unfold


Speculation is rife that Kuehne+Nagel will take over Panalpina to create the world's largest forwarder by far given recent issues and events at two Swiss rivals.
If combined, revenues would be slightly ahead of DHL at US$28.2 billion compared with the German forwarder's $27.6 billion, noted London's Air Cargo News.
Such talk has been driven by the recent controversy and coming departure of Panalpina chairman Peter Ulber, which led to K+N's chief executive Detlef Trefzger to tell the Finanz & Wirtschaft newspaper that he was ready to hold talks with Panalpina.
Then K+N chief executive Detlef Trefzger told newspaper Finanz & Wirtschaft it would be ready to hold talks with Panalpina.
"We think Panalpina has become a likely takeover target, after the chairman, Peter Ulber, announced he will not stand for re-election at next year's annual general meeting following pressure from shareholders to facilitate more active engagement in takeover talks," said an investor circular from financial group Jefferies.
Based on 2017 figures, a merger would create the world's largest forwarder, with a lead in air freight volumes, revenues and sea freight traffic, noted Air Cargo News.
In air cargo terms, the combined entity would have annual air freight volumes of 2.6 million tonnes compared with current leader DHL Global Forwarding's 2017 volumes of 2.3 million tonnes.
"K+N and Panalpina may lose some volume if they come together either through synergy savings, customers leaving, or authorities stepping in on certain territories and demanding the sale of businesses in those countries because of competition concerns." said Air Cargo News.
But the first three quarters of this year has seen K+N's air freight volumes grow by 16 per cent year on year, Panalpina has recorded an increase of four while DHL Global Forwarding has recorded a decline of 4.2 per cent, thus the two Swiss firms are growing much faster than their German rival.
"K+N is already the world's leading sea freight forwarder so there would be no change in the pecking order on this front, although it would obviously stretch its lead," it said.

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