The Competition Commission approves a major courier sector …

The Competition Commission has approved the acquisition of Fast + Furious by DPD Laser. The announcement is big news in an industry that is rapidly consolidating to meet the demands of South African e-commerce amid the pandemic and its ongoing lockdowns. More importantly, the acquisition is a key signal that while South Africa may be grappling with record unemployment, some sectors are expanding beyond expectations to meet the demands of new digitally driven markets and the awakening of South Africa to the fourth industrial revolution. The acquisition should in particular increase DPD Laser’s presence and influence in the express distribution market.

The majority shareholder of DPD Laser, the DPDgroup, is present in 49 countries around the world and has been a leading player in the European distribution market for many years, largely thanks to its specialization and innovation in the electronic commerce market. Benjamin Demogé, Executive Vice-President of DPDgroup, underlines: “The boom in e-commerce has accelerated the development of the market in Europe from 3 to 4 years, accelerating the transition from BtoB to BtoC and paving the way for a future centered on consumer. This change is not limited to Europe or developed markets and we expect the same in South Africa. Hence our support for the acquisition of Fast + Furious and the additional investment by DPDgroup.

The acquisition increases DPD Laser’s network and resources and the company now employs more than 1,500 people and has a dedicated fleet across the country. Anton Visagie, CEO of DPD Laser, explains: “Network expansion is necessary to support the growing scale of business and we are actively opening new branches and hubs in more cities and districts across the country. And now that the deal is officially closed, we will activate the consolidation of our larger branches and move to larger, purpose-built distribution facilities throughout Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. This is an important step for us, as we will quickly increase our efficiency while significantly improving our productivity and the quality of our service.

DPD Laser and Fast + Furious have both had notable success in winning over new customers in recent months. Jason Lombard, COO of DPD Laser, notes: “Our two businesses performed very well prior to the acquisition. And, with that in mind, our sole focus as we come together is the successful integration of the two companies, an uninterrupted customer experience, and the ease of doing business. It really matters in the evolving online space and we are absolutely committed to maintaining or improving service to all of our customers. This means rolling out a brand in the coming months, uniting two winning cultures of execution and performance into one, and expanding from 15 branches to more than 25 nationwide.

Anton Visagie adds: “We have made good use of the time that has elapsed while awaiting the approval of the Competition Commission. Plan the IT integration of the two systems to ensure faster and more efficient collection and delivery processes, as well as to identify more regional or remote areas where future representation is needed.

Philip Hayes, Director of DPD Laser and CEO of The Laser Group is more philosophical about the transaction announcement: “What I find so exciting about this announcement is that it signals increased prosperity for the South Africa, its businesses and its people. A new investment from a large European company, a further consolidation in a market which is desperately trying to cope with a buoyant and growing online retail market, saving jobs and inevitably creating more jobs in the near future. Isn’t that exactly what we need in this country right now? Without this international interest, and without embracing these new markets and adapting to them, we will stagnate, and this is not an option for our country. Laser’s partnership with DPDgroup over the past 15 years has illustrated what can be achieved if local businesses inspire outside investors to continue contributing to the growth of our incredible country and its people, ”he concludes. DM

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