The InPost e-commerce group sets up in France with Mondial deal

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Polish parcel locker operator InPost plans to buy its French counterpart Mondial Relay for € 565 million, as it seeks to capitalize on the surge in e-commerce triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

InPost said on Monday he expected the cash deal with German owner of Mondial Otto Group, which has yet to be approved by regulators and Mondial’s workers’ council, to be finalized by the end of the second trimester.

The deal would mark the Polish locker group’s first major foray outside its home market and nearly double its revenues, which already doubled to 2.5 billion zloty (553 million euros) last year as the pandemic swept across Europe. The group operates automated lockers so that customers can retrieve the products they have purchased online.

“This is a big addition, a big step further, and it opens a whole new chapter in front of management and in front of the company,” Rafal Brzoska, managing director and founder of InPost, told the FT.

Otto Group said in a statement that the deal was part of a “realignment” of its logistics business it announced late last year. He added that Mondial’s existing management team would remain in place.

InPost’s move for Mondial Relay follows a wave of deals in the European retail sector, as investors rush to support businesses able to capitalize on the changing habits of consumers forced to stay at home by the blockages caused by the pandemic.

Poland’s largest e-commerce platform, Allegro, listed last year on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, in the biggest IPO ever, while InPost listed in Amsterdam in January.

Brzoska said at the time that part of the reason for listing in Amsterdam was to facilitate InPost’s international expansion, and identified the UK, where InPost already has a nascent presence, France, Spain and Italy as markets he would target.

The deal for Mondial Relay – which achieved a turnover of 437 million euros last year and operates 15,800 collection and drop-off points – will make InPost the second player in France, which, according to InPost , was the third largest e-commerce market in the EU.

This will also allow the company to be less present in Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

InPost said the transaction would be fully funded by a newly signed bridge loan provided by a consortium of seven banks including JPMorgan, Pekao SA and BNP Paribas.

The loan will bring InPost’s net debt to a multiple of 3.5 times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. However, the company said it aims to reduce the ratio to between 2.5 and 2 times ebitda within two years of the transaction.

The company expects the deal to increase its ebitda, which nearly tripled to 994 million zlotys (€ 217 million) last year, from € 100 million to € 150 million in the “medium term” , and Brzoska said the combined business will have strong cash generation.

However, he added that InPost is not planning any further acquisitions at this time. “I feel like we still have a lot of dry powder. But just to be very, very clear: we don’t have another item with an M&A angle on our agenda, ”he said.

“Our objective is to complete the transaction, to convince the works council and, at the same time, to continue our deployment in Poland and the United Kingdom.

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