FedEx Corp. said today it has agreed to buy the Brazilian logistics company Rapidão Cometa Logística e Transportes S.A. for an undisclosed sum. The proposed transaction will mark FedEx's third acquisition in two months of a smaller, in-country logistics firm that can be folded into the Memphis, Tenn.-based giant's far-flung global network.
Rapidão Cometa, which has been in business for 70 years, has served as one of FedEx's authorized representatives in Brazil for more than a decade. FedEx said the acquisition would provide customers of its FedEx Express air and international unit with greater access to the fast-growing Brazilian economy, one of the seven largest in the world.
The integration will occur in phases over the next 18 to 24 months, FedEx said.
The acquisition is the third announced by FedEx since rival UPS Inc. announced it would buy Dutch parcel and express giant TNT Express for $6.8 billion in cash and debt. Shortly after the deal was announced, Frederick W. Smith, FedEx's chairman, president, and CEO, effectively said the company would not make a counteroffer and that it could grow in Europe without the benefit of such a large-scale acquisition.
In May, FedEx announced it would acquire the French transport firm Tatex. The month prior, the company said it planned to close on its acquisition of Polish shipping firm Opek Sp. z o.o.
"The acquisition of Rapidão Cometa—one of the largest logistics solutions providers in Brazil—is in line with our long-term strategy to grow our Latin American business and better serve our customers seeking to enter or expand their businesses in the Brazilian market," said Juan N. Cento, president, FedEx Express, Latin America and Caribbean.
Headquartered in northeastern Brazil, Rapidão Cometa operates 45 branches in the country with a fleet of 770 tractor-trailers. It provides expedited ground transportation of small packages and heavy freight. It is also considered to be one of the most respected names in Brazilian logistics.
"It is a very impressive company," said Dale S. Rogers, professor, logistics and supply chain management at New Jersey's Rutgers University, and leader in sustainability and reverse logistics practices at Rio de Janeiro's Instituto de Logística e Supply Chain, or ILOS.
One of Rapidão Cometa's most visible accounts is with the credit card company Visa, according to Rogers. The logistics firm will field calls from merchants that are having trouble with their card-swiping equipment. After the company quickly dispatches a driver with a replacement machine, it will recover the defective equipment, repair it, and return it to stock for re-use.