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BASEL: July 17, 2018. Panalpina has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Johannesburg-based specialist Skyservices to add to its expanding perishables network. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The move follows last month’s purchase of Buenos Aires perishables forwarder Newport Cargo. With this latest addition the company says it will be able to provide end-to-end solutions for perishables from South Africa to Europe, the Middle East, Far East and the US.

Panalpina perishables“The acquisition of Skyservices allows us to rapidly become a major player in South Africa’s perishables market. The majority of the company’s export volumes go to London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, where we have a strong perishables expertise and can therefore offer end-to-end solutions to customers,” explained Panalpina CEO Stefan Karlen. “Our non-perishables cargo into South Africa will continue to be handled by our agent Bidvest Panalpina,” he added.

Perishables account for 40 percent of South Africa’s airfreight exports. Top commodities are fresh cut flowers, subtropical and deciduous fruit, specialist vegetables, berries, meat and fish. Skyservices' main markets are the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, the UAE and US.

The company opened for business in 2000 and operates a 2,000 square metre warehouse inside O.R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg and a purpose-built 1,700 square metre warehouse just outside Cape Town International Airport.

Panalpina has reported a gross profit rise of 11 percent to CHF744.4 million for the first six months of 2018. EBIT and consolidated profit rose 30 percent and 21 percent to reach CHF54.7 million and CHF36.1 million respectively.

“Half way through 2018 we can say that Panalpina is on track. Ocean Freight broke even again in the second quarter as a result of strict cost control and recovering volumes from April to June. Sustained margins in both Air and Ocean Freight and the reliable performance in Logistics led to sound half-year results,” said Karlen.

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