Today, A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) announces the intended acquisition of Senator International, a well-renowned global freight forwarding company with a strong air freight offering. Furthermore, to expand its own controlled air network, Maersk is adding aircraft to its operations: three leased cargo planes to be operational from 2022 and two newbuilding Boeing aircraft to be deployed by 2024.
Copenhagen. Air freight is a crucial enabler of flexibility and agility in global supply chains as it allows companies to tackle time-critical supply chain challenges and provides transport mode options for high value cargo. To better cater to customers´ needs, Maersk aims to increase its presence in the global air cargo industry.
To accelerate its product offering which integrates Logistics, Ocean, Rail and Air and expand its global air network, Maersk intends to acquire Senator International, a company with a renowned operational air freight platform of own controlled capacity and operations across Europe, Asia, South Africa, and America. In addition, Maersk is purchasing two new B777F and leasing three B767-300 cargo planes. To operate and manage this added capacity, the cargo airline Star Air – the internal air cargo operation of Maersk established in 1987 - will become a key vehicle supporting Maersk’s logistics offering.
As a global provider of integrated logistics, Maersk is improving the ability to provide a one-stop-shop and end-to-end logistics capabilities to our customers. We have strengthened our integrated logistics offering through E-commerce logistics acquisitions, tech investments, expanding our warehouse footprint and, as a natural next step, we are now ramping up our air freight capacity significantly and creating a broader network to cater even better for the needs of customers.
Joining forces with Senator to create a strong air platform
Senator has built a renowned airfreight operation centered around own controlled capacity using nineteen weekly flights across its network. Senator operates a significant part of their business through a dedicated air bridge with own controlled capacity and ensuring a high service level for its customers. This focus on own controlled capacity is highly aligned with Maersk´s air freight strategy.
Founded by my father Uwe Kirschbaum in 1984, Senator has grown to a sizable global freight forwarder. Our employees have always delivered first-class services to our valued customers. Senator’s own controlled air product started in 2016 and has proven to be a success story. Our customers honor our reliability - particularly in challenging times during the pandemic. By joining Maersk, we strongly believe that we will be able to deliver an even broader portfolio with own controlled air capacity as well as also in other modes of transportation. Senator´s customers and team will love it.
The German company brings a technology advantage with its Cargo Wise One core operating platform, a cutting-edge yet easy-to-use single system which will accelerate the integration with Maersk’s Air and LCL (Less than Container Load) products.
The enterprise value of the transaction on a post IFRS 16 basis is approximately USD 644m which based on pro-forma adjusted 2021 EBITDA corresponds to a multiple of 8.0x. The transaction is subject to closing conditions including regulatory approvals and is expected to close in H1 2022.
Maersk’s ambition is to have approximately one third of its annual air tonnage carried within its own controlled freight network. This will be achieved through a combination of owned and leased aircraft, replicating the structure that the company has within its ocean fleet. The remaining capacity will be provided by strategic commercial carriers and charter flight operators.
Star Air, Maersk´s air operator
As an in-house aircraft operator, Star Air will operate and maintain owned and leased aircraft for Maersk while continuing to operate air cargo for its current customers. As an integral part of building the own controlled air capacity, Star Air has purchased two new B777 Freighters to be delivered by Boeing in 2024 and leased three B767-300 Freighters which will be operational next year through Cargo Aircraft Management, the leasing arm of ATSG.
We are delighted to welcome Star Air to the Boeing family of 777 operators and we look forward to many years of partnership as they continue to grow their air cargo division. The market leading efficiency and incredible range of the 777 Freighter will provide Maersk the flexibility to profitably operate the airplane across its large air freight network while helping to deliver on its sustainability objectives.
Achieving carbon neutrality is a strategic imperative for Maersk. On Air, Maersk will have similar ambitions as on Ocean, including forwarding business where the company is involved with carriers that offer SAF-based (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) solutions as well as own fleet, where Maersk is committed to explore carbon neutral fuels for the Star Air operated fleet of aircraft in line with IATA guidance.
About A.P. Moller - Maersk.
A.P. Moller - Maersk is an integrated container logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’ supply chains. As the global leader in shipping services, the company operates in 130 countries and employs approximately 80,000 people.
About Senator International
Senator is a leading German freight forwarding company owned and led by the Kirschbaum family who founded the company in 1984. Senator has +1,700 employees across a global network with 64 offices in 21 countries across Europe, the Americas and Asia. It operates across three segments: Air freight (65% of 2020 revenue), Ocean freight (30% of revenue) and Logistics & Packaging (5% of revenue). Primary vertical is Automotive, with established and growing exposure within Industrials, Technology and Pharmaceuticals. In 2020, Senator realized revenues of c. USD 730m and post-IFRS16 adjusted EBITDA of c. USD 50m for 2021, Senator is expected to realise revenues of USD approx. 950m and post-IFRS16 adjusted EBITDA above USD 80m.
About Star Air
Star Air has been established by A.P. Moller - Maersk back in 1987. It currently operates a fleet of 15 aircraft: 12 Boeing 767-200 SF's, 1 Boeing 767-300BCF and 2 Boeing 767-300F, including aviation licenses and 160 type-rated pilots and 50 certified aircraft mechanics. Star Air is headquartered in Dragør, Denmark, at the premises of Copenhagen Airport.