French express logistics firm GeoPost has invested Rs 158 crore ($25.85 million) to buy out Reliance Equity Advisor’s 39.5 per cent stake in Bangalore-based DTDC Courier and Cargo Ltd. In a parallel deal, GeoPost, created as an offshoot of the French government’s postal arm, has also put in some fresh money into DTDC which gives it around 42 per cent stake.
"This transaction is a combination of secondary and primary (components). Through the secondary component, Reliance PE’s stake has been sold to GeoPost and there is further primary infusion into the business from the French firm," Abhishek Chakraborty, executive director of DTDC said.
Reliance Equity Advisors, the PE arm of Reliance Capital, had invested Rs 66 crore in DTDC way back in 2006 and this deal means a return of 2.4x in rupee terms over seven years.
Subhasish Chakraborty, chairman and managing director of DTDC, who started the firm in 1990, said DTDC will get access to European markets and new technologies with the deal. DTDC is one of India's largest domestic delivery network which covers 10,000 pin codes in the domestic market and over 240 destinations globally.
Three months ago, DTDC acquired 70 per cent stake in Nikkos Logistics Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed stake. Post acquisition, Nikkos Logistics got renamed as DTDC Nikkos International Logistics Pvt Ltd. Last May, the firm acquired 52 per cent stake in UAE-based Eurostar Express LLC for $0.75 million.
Earlier this year, DTDC spread its roots to the APAC region and the Middle East through acquisitions and joint ventures with Eurostar in UAE, Fast World Express Pty Ltd in Australia, Kuwait Bayarek General Trading & Contracting Co. WII in Kuwait and Air Dragon Freight (Beijing) Co Ltd. in China.
"India is a critical global market which is set for strong CEP growth and we are delighted to invest in one of its leading players. The partnership will give us access to an unrivalled footprint in India and a great management team that shares our ambition to be a leading global CEP player serving both B2B and B2C markets," said Iain Johnson, COO, GeoPost International.
Founded in 1999, GeoPost through its subsidiaries offers parcel delivery and transportation, and logistics services in France and Europe. It is a wholly owned express logistics subsidiary of Le Groupe La Poste, the French government's postal arm. Since 2007, GeoPost has been expanding its footprint through joint ventures or acquisitions in diverse markets such as South Africa, China, and Turkey. Currently, it is the second-largest operator in Europe in the courier express parcels market.
It operates in 230 countries with a total workforce of over 20,000 personnel. Outside France, it operates under the network brand name of DPD International.
Four years ago, it had picked a majority stake in a venture with Vohras, the promoters of Continental Air Express.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)