FedEx Corp. on Thursday, April 5, announced that it signed an agreement to acquire the Polish courier company Opek Sp.z o.o. (Opek), the latest step in its strategy for growth in Europe. The company says the acquisition will give its FedEx Express business unit access to a nationwide domestic ground network in Poland with an estimated $70 million in annual revenue and 12.5 million shipments annually. FedEx says the transaction, terms of which were not disclosed, most likely will close this summer after necessary regulatory approvals and customary conditions are met.
“In recent years, we have made significant investments throughout Europe, greatly expanding our network coverage and improving service to customers,” says Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corp. “Our presence in Europe is backed by strong leadership and management and dedicated team members. We have an excellent strategy that has steadily advanced our position in the region, and we are well positioned for profitable growth as we increase the number of direct-served locations in Europe.”
FedEx Express broadened its European network in 2006 by purchasing ANC Holdings Limited, a U.K.-based domestic express transportation company. In 2007, FedEx Express began its wholly-owned operation in Hungary after acquiring its service provider, Flying Cargo Hungary Kft. In 2010, FedEx Express relocated its Central and Eastern European hub from Frankfurt to a new state-of-the-art hub in Cologne, Germany, and in 2009 expanded its European hub at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, making it the largest FedEx hub outside the United States.
So far in fiscal 2012, FedEx Express has opened 26 new stations across France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Sweden. In addition, FedEx Trade Networks has expanded its presence in Europe, adding 22 locations in recent years to complement the portfolio of express services.
Opek, a family-owned company, was founded in 1994 and operates an automated hub in Lomianki, near Warsaw, and additional hubs in Lodz and Katowice. In total, the company operates 44 stations throughout Poland. More than 1,200 employees work for Opek, and the company engages more than 1,300 contracted drivers.
FedEx entered the Polish market in 1989 and has been continuously expanding its range of international shipping services since. In 2004, the company established a regular flight connection between Warsaw and Paris. A year later, FedEx opened its own branch stations at the Katowice and Warsaw Airports. With the launch of the FedEx International Economy service in 2009, the company expanded its service range to offer an economic alternative for less urgent shipments. Most recently, FedEx launched a flight from Katowice to the FedEx European hub in Paris in 2011. FedEx Express currently employs about 120 team members in Poland.