Swiss logistics and transport group Kühne & Nagel is buying Paris-based ACR Logistics for €440 million (SFr682 million), it was announced on Monday.
The deal means the Swiss firm becomes one of the top five global providers in contract logistics.
Kühne & Nagel said it was also assuming a net debt of €50 million and would finance the transaction with a combination of existing cash and the placements of 7.1 per cent of its share capital to institutional investors.
ACR Logistics has 15,000 employees and a reported turnover of €1.2 billion in 2004 as well as an operating profit of €60 million, Kühne & Nagel said in a statement.
The French company is being sold by the United States-based Platinum Equity Group. It operates in 140 locations in 11 countries.
Due to the enlarged customer base, Kühne & Nagel, which has its headquarters in Schindellegi in canton Schwyz, expects considerable growth from increased cross-selling activities, particularly in eastern European and Asia, plus a further strengthening of its global capabilities and profitability.
"This important acquisition marks a decisive step and provides us with an enhancement of our market position in contract logistics," said Klaus Herms, CEO of Kühne & Nagel in a statement.
He added that the buy was a good fit and ACR Logistics would strengthen the firm's position in Europe.
Kühne & Nagel also said on Monday that net earnings in the January to September period rose by a third to SFr216.7 million from a year ago. Sales in the same period increased 20.1 per cent to SFr10.1 billion.
The operational result (Ebita) improved 16.3 per cent on last year to SFr321.8 million.
Kühne & Nagel said that the "continued good performance" confirmed its customer-orientated business model and strong position in the global logistics market.
The Swiss firm employs 25,000 people in 98 countries and has sea freight, air freight and contract logistics businesses.
swissinfo with agencies
Kühne & Nagel is based in Schindellegi, canton Schwyz.
It has 25,000 employees at 620 locations in 98 countries.
Its turnover for the first nine months of the year: SFr10.1 million.
ACR Logisitics is headquartered in Paris, France.
It has 15,000 employess, operating in 140 locations in 11 countries.
For 2004 turnover was €1.2 billion.