North Asia-focused private equity firm MBK Partners said on Monday (February 22) it would sell Asian logistics provider Apex International Corp to Swiss logistics firm Kuehne & Nagel, with the deal having a reported enterprise value of $1.5-2 billion.
MBK Partners acquired a 64% stake in Apex for around 190 billion won ($170 million) through two investments in 2015 and is expected to generate a money multiple of nearly five times through the sale, with an internal rate of return (IRR) of almost 40%.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but it is reputed to be the largest mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deal in Asia so far this year.
Apex became one of Asia’s leading air freight forwarders after its acquisition by MBK Partners, commanding strong positions in the major China-U.S. and China-Europe routes and other emerging trade lines. It currently operates 41 offices in North America, Europe and Asia, serving over 4,000 clients.
The firm handled an air freight volume of about 750,000 tons and sea freight volume of 190,000 TEU in 2020. It recorded revenue of $2.3 billion last year.
MBK Partners has shown strong interest in Asian logistics and mobility sectors. In December it acquired a 20.86% stake in China’s leading rental car service provider CAR Inc for $240 million, the third-largest buyout deal in China last year.
China’s recent “dual-circulation” measure, a state-led five-year plan to promote consumption and help bolster economic development, is expected to provide more investment and exit opportunities to MBK Partners. (Reporting by Hee-yeon Han)