XPO said the move would make it one of the top 10 global logistics firms, tripling its pre-tax profit to $545M (£354.7M) and increasing its revenue to $8.5bn (£5.5bn).
The agreement gives XPO a majority interest in ND and opens the way for a tender offer for the remaining shares.
Based in Lyon in France, ND has 662 locations and employs more than 42,000 people worldwide and clocked up revenue of €5.1bn (£3.6bn) in the year to December 31, 2014. Its transportation and logistics services complemented XPO’s offerings in contract logistics, freight brokerage and global forwarding, said XPO.
XPO’s board of directors and ND’s supervisory board unanimously approved the transaction, which is subject to the approval of competition regulators in the US and Germany.
Under the terms of the deal, Hervé Montjotin, chairman of the executive board and ND ceo will become ceo of XPO’s European business and president of the parent company.
XPO said it had no plans to cut the total number of employees in France for at least 18 months after the deal has been ratified and it would keep ND’s European headquarters in Lyon.
XPO chairman and ceo Bradley Jacobs called the agreement “a defining moment in the growth of XPO”.
“In Norbert Dentressangle, we are acquiring a company that has been meticulously built over the past four decades,” said Jacobs. “I am extremely pleased that ND’s executive leader Hervé Montjotin will serve as ceo of our European business and president of the parent company. I look forward to working closely with Hervé as we execute XPO’s global strategy.”
Montjotin added: “By joining XPO, we will become part of an organisation that shares the ambition that has guided us since the creation of ND 36 years ago: to become a global partner able to effectively support our customers in the management of their supply chains.
“As XPO’s platform for growth in Europe, we can continue to pursue this goal on an even larger scale, to the benefit of our customers and employees.”
Joint benefits of the deal include:
- ND’s services mirror XPO’s portfolio: contract logistics, including e-fulfilment; freight brokerage; an asset-light palletised network; freight management; dedicated and owned truckloading; and global freight forwarding.
- XPO expects to gain substantial cross-selling opportunities from ND’s loyal base of blue chip customers, many of which are not currently served by XPO.
- ND’s Red Online service leads Europe’s e-fulfilment market, with €242M (£173.3M) revenue in 2014 and 31% organic growth. It serves business-to-business and consumer-facing customers in its primary markets of the UK, Spain and France.
- XPO will gain global scale in freight brokerage and managed transportation, two of its core services. It aims to deploy its proprietary Freight Optimizer platform in Europe to facilitate best-in-class carrier sourcing and customer service. Norbert Dentressangle currently generates over €1bn (£716M) of freight brokerage revenue annually. Road transport in the UK, Spain and France is an estimated €95bn (£68bn) opportunity.
- The transaction will give XPO access to Europe’s largest fleet network of 7,700 owned trucks, 3,200 trucks contracted through owner-operators and access to 12,000 independent carriers.
- The combination will increase XPO’s global freight forwarding revenue to approximately $425M (£277M) annually and provide greater access to Euro-Asia.