The Competition Commission has approved the acquisition of Fast+Furious by DPD Laser. The announcement is big news in an industry rapidly consolidating to cope with the demands of South African e-commerce due to the pandemic and its ongoing lockdowns. Most importantly, the acquisition is a key signal that, while South Africa may be struggling with record unemployment, some sectors are growing beyond expectation to satisfy the demands of new digitally-driven markets and South Africa’s awakening to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The acquisition is expected to notably increase DPD Laser’s presence and influence in the express distribution market.
DPD Laser’s majority shareholder, the DPDgroup, operates in 49 countries worldwide and has been a lead player in the European distribution market for many years largely as a consequence of its specialisation and innovation in the e-Commerce market. Benjamin Demogé, Executive Vice President at DPDgroup, emphasises, “The e-commerce boom has fast-tracked market development in Europe by 3 to 4 years, accelerating the shift from BtoB to BtoC and sets the stage for a future centered around the consumer. This shift is not limited to Europe or developed markets and we expect the same in South Africa. Hence our support of the acquisition of Fast+Furious and DPDgroup’s further investment.”
The acquisition augments DPD Laser’s network and resources and the company now employs over 1500 people and has a dedicated fleet across the country. Anton Visagie, DPD Laser’s CEO explains, “Network expansion is necessary to support the increased scale of business and we are actively opening new branches and hubs in more towns and districts across the country. And now that the transaction is officially concluded we will be activating the consolidation of our larger branches and moving to bigger and purpose-built distribution facilities in all of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. This is an important step for us as we will rapidly increase efficiencies whilst substantially enhancing our productivity and quality of service.”
Both DPD Laser and Fast+Furious have had some notable success in securing new customers in recent months. Jason Lombard, DPD Laser COO, notes, “Both our businesses did really well prior to the acquisition. And, with this in mind, our single-minded focus as we come together is the successful integration of the two businesses, uninterrupted customer experience and ease of doing business. This really matters in the evolving online space and we are absolutely committed to retaining or enhancing service to all our customers. This means the roll-out of one brand in the coming months, the uniting of two winning cultures of execution and performance into one, and the expansion from 15 branches to more than 25 nationally.”
Anton Visagie adds, “We have made good use of the time that passed while we waited for the Competition Commission approval. Planning the IT integration of both systems to ensure faster and more efficient collection and delivery processes as well as identifying more regional or remote areas where future representation is necessary.”
Philip Hayes, Director of DPD Laser and CEO of The Laser Group is more philosophical about the transaction announcement: “What I find so exciting about this announcement is that it signals further prosperity for South Africa and its businesses and people. A further investment from a major European business, further consolidation in a market that is desperately trying to cope with a buoyant and growing online retail marketplace, the saving of jobs and inevitably the creation of more jobs in the near future. Is this not exactly what we need in this country right now? Without this international interest, and without embracing these new markets and adapting to them, we will stagnate, and that is not an option for our country. Laser’s partnering with DPDgroup over the last 15 years has illustrated what can be achieved if local business inspires outside investors to continue their contribution to the growth of our amazing country and its people,” he concludes. DM