October 12 - Damco is set to acquire PacNet, a leading freight forwarder in China and Australia, with almost 400 employees and a turnover of USD180 million in its last financial year (2011), as well as offices in Italy, India, the UK and the USA.

Damco says it has been looking to strengthen its overall presence in Australia in the segments where PacNet is active for some time and that by combining forces it significantly enhances its platform in the North Asia and Asia Pacific regions.

I am happy to be joining forces with PacNet which is another good step forward to further build our global business, says Damco ceo Rolf Habben-Jansen.

We are combining two businesses with very aligned strategies, complementary skills, customer bases and geographic strengths, and we have already seen that our cultures match very well, which is an excellent basis to further improve our ability to serve our joint existing and future customers even better, he says.

The acquisition will strengthen Damco's forwarding capabilities in Australia, Hong Kong and Mainland China.

We have seen a growing demand for a broader outreach in recent years and we feel that by joining Damco we can provide our customers with a strong global presence, says Paul Milborrow, ceo of PacNet.

We will now create a leading freight forwarding business in our region with a market leading position in key industries, enabling us to better cater to the demands our customers are raising, he adds.

The PacNet senior management team will join Damco, and the existing operations will be run by largely the same people and the same teams.

A Damco spokesman confirmed that all the PacNet offices will be part of the agreement and it is Damco's intention to bring PacNet and Damco branches together as soon as practical.

HLPFI understands that in many locations this will be quite quick as space is available, but in a few locations it will take a bit longer as new premises need to be found.

The spokesman also confirmed that eventually all offices will end up under the Damco brand.