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Groupe Cat confirms buyout of rival STVA

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Finished vehicle logistics provider Groupe Cat has confirmed it will buy rival company STVA from French state-owned rail operator SNCF.

The confirmation follows reports in May this year that Groupe Cat was in exclusive negotiations to take over the company, which generated a turnover of over €320m ($370m) last year.

Neither company has disclosed the purchase price.

The STVA takeover is the latest in a run of European acquisitions Groupe Cat has made over the last seven years, including those of Trial, Toquero, Fleetpoint, VSE, Sintax and CVT. However, STVA is the largest acquisition the company has made in terms of turnover, workforce and integrated assets.

Groupe Cat is now one of the largest finished vehicle transport providers in terms of size and scope of operations, and the purchase of STVA gives it rail assets it did not have, in the form of 2,600 rail cars. The deal makes Groupe Cat one of Europe’s largest bimodal finished vehicle logistics fleet owners.

Along with the rail cars Groupe Cat will inherit from STVA come 31 vehicle logistics compounds, a fleet of 725 car carrying trucks and 2,000 employees. That leaves Groupe Cat with a fleet of 1,700 trucks and 2,600 rail wagons, 96 vehicle logistics compounds and more than 8,000 employees.

Alejandro Forbes, CEO of Groupe Cat, said the latest acquisition would improve the company’s competitiveness by optimising and pooling resources, along with volumes and best practices.

Third-party logistics company mergers and acquisitions have been gathering pace over the last few years as firms focus on building capabilities to provide a one-stop shop for customers who are looking for fewer core logistics providers as they pursue global expansion. FedEx, DSV and XPO Logistics are good examples.

Consolidation has the potential to improve costs and service provision through increased density and scale, which is something the finished vehicles logistics market is also continuing to focus on. As well as Groupe Cat, there have been a spate of buyouts by the likes of BCA, Hyundai Glovis and United Road.

Groupe Cat delivered over 5m vehicles and 766,000 tonnes of spare parts and components in 2016. Its turnover last year was €1.2 billion. STVA, meanwhile moved 2.8m new and used vehicles.

Further details on Groupe Cat’s takeover of STVA are expected next week.