October 22, 2015: Deutsche Post DHL has produced a retrospective book called: "200 years of logistics – Danzas and DHL shape an industry."
For the many employees of Danzas who have fond memories of the company, perhaps the title should rather be: "Danzas shapes an industry so Deutsche Post buys it."
Finding himself on the losing side at the Battle of Waterloo, Lieutenant Louis Danzas gets into the shipping business and for the next 184 years his name and the company would survive two world wars, the Great Depression and numerous commercial twists and turns to produce an annual turnover of CHF6 billion by 1992.
Deutsche Post, on the hand, remained a post office for most of those decades – but one with its own bank.
Unlike the current XP Logistics' M&A strategy, in 1998/9 Danzas agreed to be purchased by a now-liberalized Deutsche Post and immediately used its owner's mountain of money to acquire ASG, part of Nedlloyd, Northern Air Freight, and finally Air Express International.
As a result, by the end of 2000, Danzas (née Deutsche Post) was producing annual revenue close to CHF12 billion and enjoying leading positions in many of its primary markets.
Fast-forward 15 years and as of H1 2015, Deutsche Post Global Forwarding, Freight (née Danzas) had revenues of €7.6 billion. The current rate of exchange puts that at around CHF8.3 billion.
Apparently it's more than size that matters. Louis probably realized that after Waterloo.
- Simon Keeble is the editor of Freightweek.