FedEx Express to buy Polish courier company Opek

FedEx Express is expanding its presence in Europe further, with the acquisition of Polish courier company Opek. The company revealed today that it had signed a deal to buy the Warsaw-based company, which has an annual revenue of about $70m, handling about 12.5m shipments each year.

FedEx said it expected the deal to close in the summer of 2012, after regulatory approvals are in hand.

The US integrator said the Opek acquisition would boost its FedEx Express portfolio in Poland while continuing its European expansion through “smart, strategic investments”.

Opek was founded in 1994 with a network covering the whole of Poland. The family-owned company operates an automated hub in Lomianki, near Warsaw, and additional hubs in Lodz and Katowice.

The firm has 44 stations across Poland and a workforce of 1,200 employees and 1,300 contracted drivers.

FedEx first entered the Polish market in 1989, establishing a regular flight between Warsaw and Paris in 2004, and another flight from Katowice to Paris last year.

Prior to the Opek acquisition, FedEx currently employs 120 staff in Poland.

Gerald P Leary, the FedEx Express president for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, said the acquisition would put his company in a “better position” to serve growing customer needs in the region.

“Our two companies represent a strategic fit with a common commitment to enhance the service we can offer Polish businesses,” he said.

Marek Opinski, the general director at Opek, said: “We know our employees and couriers will be proud to be part of the team at FedEx, which is one of the world’s most admired companies.”

European expansion

One of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, Poland’s economy is predicted a 2.5% growth this year

The Polish economy is one of the fastest growing economies in a fairly troubled European Union at the moment, with the EU Commission predicting back in February that it will grow 2.5% this year.

Poland was the only EU economy to avoid recession in 2009.

FedEx has been steadily expanding its presence in Europe for a number of years, though efforts appear to have accelerated at the same time as its major US rival UPS has been pursuing the acquisition of their European integrator rival TNT Express.

FedEx acquisitions in Europe in recent years have included UK domestic express firm ANC Holdings in 2006 and Hungarian express firm Flying Cargo Hungary in 2007.

Much of the company’s growth in Europe recently has been organic, however, with 26 new stations opened by FedEx Express so far in its 2012 fiscal year, including in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Sweden.

The company has recently expanded its European air hub at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, and in 2010 transferred its central European hub from Frankfurt to a state-of-the-art facility in Cologne.

Frederick W Smith, the FedEx chairman, said his company had greatly expanded its network coverage within Europe in recent years.

“We have an excellent strategy that has steadily advanced our position in the region,” he said, “and we are well positioned for profitable growth as we increase the number of direct-served locations in Europe.”

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