FedEx Corp. said today it will make its first ownership foray into Africa by acquiring businesses in five countries operated by Supaswift (PTY) Ltd., FedEx's service partner on the continent.
Under the transaction, Memphis-based FedEx will acquire Supaswift's businesses in South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zambia. FedEx said it is in talks to also acquire its partner's businesses in Botswana and Namibia. Terms of the transaction and its projected closing date were not disclosed. The integration will take place over a multi-month period, FedEx said.
The businesses will operate under the "FedEx Express unit." FedEx Express is FedEx's air and international operation, and its largest division by revenue. Johannesburg-based Supaswift has 39 facilities in the seven countries and employs about 1,000 people.
"The acquisition of Supaswift's businesses...will provide customers with greater access to some of the world's most rapidly growing economies," Frederick W. Smith, FedEx chairman, president, and CEO, said in a statement. "It is an important step in our international growth strategy and further strengthens our FedEx Express portfolio."
FedEx Express has operated in Africa since the early 1990s through a network of global partners. Supaswift started operations in South Africa in 1990. In 2005, it merged with MyExpress Pty Ltd., which had offered FedEx Express' international services in southern Africa since 1991.
Supaswift has eight facilities in South Africa. All told, it operates in nine African countries.
Gretchen Mathis, a FedEx spokesperson, said the acquisition gives the company direct access for the first time to South Africa, the continent's largest economy. "We see Africa as a key market for our Express network, especially because of its tremendous growth potential," she said.
Mathis did not have any specific growth projections for the region.