Fastway Couriers sold to Dubai-based Aramex for $125m
A large number of Hawke's Bay shareholders may have received quite a windfall from the $125 million sale of courier company Fastway.
The privately owned company has been sold to Dubai-based logistics firm Aramex.
The deal was made public on Thursday after gaining Overseas Investment Office approval.
Beginning as a two-van courier company in Napier in 1983, the firm has a turnover of $500 million a year, including franchise operations.
Fastway's managing director Bruce Speers said many shareholders had been with the company for 30 years,
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"It was basically an opportunity for our existing shareholders to exit the business and make a good return on their initial capital investment."
But it was also a good opportunity for Fastway, he said.
"In the courier business as the moment, we're seeing some consolidation and it's becoming really important to be able to operate on a global platform.
"Certainly what this transaction does is elevates us to being a global player."
Fastway's existing network includes 62 regional depots and 1,500 franchisees across Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Northern Ireland and South Africa.
It has more than 250 franchise holders across New Zealand alone, and transports more than 30 million parcels globally a year.
The deal involves Fastway's core business in New Zealand and Australia, but not its franchisees in Ireland, Northern Ireland and South Africa.
Speers said the company would retain the Fastway name and have better access to parts of the world that would have been costly to reach.
"The way the online business is becoming such an important part of the industry now, it's really important you have a global reach.
"For us to be able to play into China or into the Middle East or even into the Americas, that would have been for us ... a massive investment."
Aramex is listed on the Dubai stock exchange and its chief executive Hussein Hachem said it liked Fastway's operating model.
"The company has a strongly performing business, a well-recognised brand, a leadership position in the Asia-Pacific market, an excellent management team and large global customer base.
"Following our recent deals in Thailand and Australia last year, acquiring Fastway is the next logical, strategic move for us."
Fastway was started by Bill McGowan as HB Couriers, who later renamed it. The company crossed the Tasman 10 years later, followed swiftly by several other countries.