November 25, 2018 / 4:52 PM / 5 months ago

Takeover target Panalpina keen to remain independent

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss transport and logistics firm Panalpina is seen at an office building in Glattbrugg near Zurich April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Panalpina (PWTN.S) wants to remain an independent company, it said on Sunday, after rival Swiss logistics company Kuehne & Nagel (KNIN.S) indicated that it would consider making a takeover approach.

Kuehne & Nagel CEO Detlef Trefzger had told Swiss newspaper Finanz & Wirtschaft in an interview published on Saturday that he was ready to talk to smaller rival Panalpina.

But Panalpina, which has been battling a shareholder revolt and a slump in its share price, would prefer to go it alone.

“Panalpina’s board of directors reiterates that the company wants to further develop its business independently,” a spokesman said on Sunday.

The company’s growth strategy involves making its own acquisitions in the highly fragmented logistics sector, the spokesman said.

“Panalpina is now in a good position to leverage its global platform. There are a number of interesting market opportunities,” he said.

The spokesman declined confirm whether Panalpina had been approached by Kuehne & Nagel but said that its board would always “consider and evaluate all its options and opportunities in the best interest of all stakeholders”.

Panalpina’s leadership is in flux after shareholder protests over a share price that has plunged by 13 percent this year.

Its chairman, Peter Ulber, said last week that he would not stand for re-election next May. The decision follows calls by Panalpina’s second-largest investor, Sweden’s Cevian, for him to step down, accusing him of blocking merger talks.

Reporting by John Revill; Editing by David Goodman

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