France's GeoPost buys 20% stake in Middle East's largest courier Aramex

The European company's purchase of 295 million shares values the deal at $381m

An Aramex office in Bethlehem. The Dubai-listed company's shares jumped as much as 14 .92 per cent to Dh4.39, its biggest intra-day gain since January 2009, on Wednesday. Reuters
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France's parcel delivery company GeoPost, a holding company owned by Le Groupe La Poste, bought 20.15 per cent of Dubai-listed courier Aramex, sending the UAE company's shares surging on Wednesday.

The acquisition of 295 million shares values the transaction at Dh1.4 billion ($381m), according to a filing on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM).

After the announcement, Aramex's shares jumped as much as 14 .92 per cent to Dh4.39, its biggest intraday gain since January 2009. With this gain, the stock erased its losses since January and was up 0.2 per cent for the year.

“Some of the potential benefits could include opportunities to strengthen presence across the networks of both parties and a more seamless and connected network across the globe for the provision of transport and logistics services," Aramex said in a statement, adding that there are several knowledge sharing possibilities that could help unlock further value for all stakeholders.

European parcel delivery network GeoPost, which was created as unit of the French government’s postal arm, delivers about 1.9 billion parcels a year through the brands DPD, Chronopost, SEUR and BRT. It reported sales of €11bn ($12.8bn) in 2020, according to its website. The company has a long-standing relationship with Aramex in Europe that goes back nearly a decade and half.

“The investment in Aramex is part of GeoPost’s international development. Aramex is already a key partner of GeoPost. Our two companies have been working together for 10 years, leveraging on GeoPost/DPDgroup’s strong presence in the European parcel delivery market and Aramex’s powerful international network in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Oceania," Boris Winkelmann, chairman and chief executive of GeoPost/DPDgroup, said in a separate statement.

Aramex was founded in Jordan by Fadi Ghandour in 1982 and was the first company from the Arab world to list on the Nasdaq. It later delisted in 2002, went public again in 2005 and is currently listed on the Dubai Financial Market. Mr Ghandour sold his remaining shares in Aramex in 2016.

The courier company employs more than 15,500 people in more than 600 locations across more than 65 countries, according to its website.

Aramex's second-quarter revenue rose 21 per cent to Dh1.57bn, compared to Dh1.29bn in the same period last year, driven by increased demand for cross border e-commerce services and significant growth in the freight-forwarding and logistics business, it said in August.

Net profit for the second quarter decreased 31 per cent to Dh65.5m compared to Dh94.4m in the same quarter last year, "as the business continued to invest in its digital transformation to drive further operating efficiencies and adapt to evolving consumer and industry trends", it said.

Last month, Aramex said it adopted a new operational structure where it split its core businesses into Aramex Express and Aramex Logistics to capture a greater market share of the global logistics industry.

As part of the reorganisation, it appointed Johannes Distler as chief strategy officer, a newly created role to ensure the development and execution of Aramex’s corporate strategy, as well as the group’s international expansion and mergers and acquisitions agenda.

Mr Distler joins Aramex from Roland Berger, where he was a partner in the firm’s Dubai office.

Updated: October 20, 2021, 4:21 PM