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Mergers & Acquisitions in global logistics are shooting up – largely driven by acquirers from Asia and Oceania

Large-scale mergers and acquisitions in the global transportation and logistics industry posted year-over-year increases in value and number during the first quarter of 2015.

In the first quarter of 2015, there were 54 announced transactions worth $50 million or more, for a total value of $27.2 billion. Those numbers compared with 44 transactions worth $17.7 billion in first quarter of 2014, and 62 deals worth $21.6 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

Transactions of more than $1 billion accounted for almost 55 percent of the total deal value for the quarter, PwC reported in Intersections, the firm’s quarterly analysis of global deal activity.

Five $1 billion-plus deals in the first quarter totaled $14.9 billion and were largely driven by acquirers from Asia and Oceania. As a result of the substantially larger deals being done, average deal value increased by 46 percent over the fourth quarter of 2014.

“The transportation and logistics industry got off to a strong start in the first quarter this year as deal value and volume continued its steady climb back from recent historic lows,” said Jonathan Kletzel, U.S. transportation and logistics leader at PwC.

“The financial marketplace is booming with overall M&A at record levels and surging capital markets, which may make this a favorable time for transportation executives to consider acquisitions. The strong dollar making acquisitions cheaper for U.S. acquirers looking to invest in targets abroad, continued recovery by advanced economies and low global fuel costs are all good indications that the environment may be ripe for transportation M&A in the year ahead.”  

PwC said  Asia and Oceania accounted for the majority of deal value and volume in the first quarter. Driven by activity involving China, Australia, Japan and Singapore totaling $13.5 billion, the region accounted for more than 90 percent of total value of mergers and acquisitions of more than $1 billion.

Reversing a recent trend, cross-border transactions gained significant momentum in the first quarter, accounting for almost 43 percent of all deals. Most of these involved acquirers from advanced nations. Most cross-border activity was driven by strategic acquirers looking to improve geographic reach and increase long-term growth, PwC said.

 “While trucking deals dipped slightly in the first quarter, we expect them to remain an area of focus for the industry given the highly fragmented nature in that mode of transportation and the prevalence of smaller players that are ripe for consolidation as bolt-on acquisitions,” Kletzel said. “As the industry seeks greater efficiency, and large to medium-sized companies look for growth rates higher than can be achieved through strategic means, these smaller companies may be prime targets for the larger players.”


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