MSC Continues Acquisition Spree Making Offer for Freight Forwarder Clasquin

MSC containerships
MSC continues to use acquisitions and fleet investments to expand market leadership (MSC)

Published Dec 5, 2023 3:47 PM by The Maritime Executive


MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company is continuing to move aggressively to expand its operations through strategic acquisitions as well as investments in its fleet. In its latest maneuver, it was revealed that they have made a preliminary proposal and entered into negotiations to acquire Clasquin, a mid-sized international freight forwarder and overseas logistics company based in France. 

Clasquin highlights that the transport and logistics market is fragmented with many small, local players and international giants while the shipping companies have consolidated and become more concentrated. The company highlights that it is the only French multinational mid-cap in the market meaning that it has successfully positioned itself between the local players and the global giants. The company has grown rapidly with a network of more than 85 offices in 25 countries.

For more than 40 years, Clasquin highlights it has managed import and export flows, mainly between Western Europe and overseas with a focus on Asia-Pacific and North America. More recently they have developed in the Near and Middle East as well as in Northwest and sub-Saharan Africa. The company has earned the respect of financial analysts with equity research firm Kepler Cheuvrex writing in its reports that the company has carried out a well-executed international expansion while developing niche expertise and vertical markets such as wine and spirits and art shipping. 

MSC is rapidly expanding all sectors of its operations including a large new building program and secondhand vessel acquisitions to reach a current capacity of 5.5 million TEU. It has increased from just over 4 million TEU at the beginning of 2022. At the same time, they have expanded air cargo operations, acquired operations in Africa, invested in Italian rail and multimodal operations, and are closing in on completing the acquisition of the port operator in Hamburg, Germany.

The controlling shareholder of Clasquin reports it was approached by MSC’s SAS Shipping Agencies Services subsidiary and has entered into exclusive negotiations. Mr. Yves Revol and his company Olymp, own 42 percent of the equity of Clasquin. He acquired the company in 1982 after working as a sales director at the company and today serves as Executive Chairman.

Revol and Olymp report they received a non-binding offer from SAS which valued the company based on an enterprise value of €325 million. Kepler Cheuvreux in its analysis calls the pricing in line with the industry offer and represents “very attractive multiples,” above the 2024 market values for industry leaders including DSV Group and Kuehne + Nagel.

MSC will now conduct an audit of Clasquin and then finalize its offer adjusting the pricing based on the due diligence. It is anticipated that SAS will finalize the terms of the offer in the first quarter of 2024. Following the acquisition of the controlling shares, SAS would file a tender offer for the remaining shares of Clasquin traded on the EURONEX exchange.

 Clasquin reports it will continue to operate under its trade names after the acquisition by the MSC subsidiary.