GAC Group buys OBC

The GAC Group has announced the amicable acquisition of 100% of UK-based shipping and logistics group, OBC, effective March 31.

OBC will be re-branded as GAC-OBC, while continuing to handle vessels in ports throughout the UK, Netherlands and US Gulf Coast where OBC has branch offices.

“There is a strong strategic fit between GAC and OBC,” says Lars Heisselberg, group vice president of GAC Shipping. “Besides giving us an important foothold in the port of Rotterdam and complementing our existing US operation, OBC is strong in North Sea oil and gas, and this is a sector where GAC has long term development interests.”

He also noted that GAC has built a close relationship with OBC since 2005 when the company became part of GAC’s Global Agency Network.

Founder-owners Bill Brough and John Wignall will remain as non-executive directors of the GAC-OBC board. Current managing director Peter Cole will remain in that role in the re-branded GAC-OBC.

GAC group president, Lars Säfverström, recently launched the GAC Group’s new five-year strategic plan, Vision Y – Global Values, along with a makeover for the group’s logo.

During the past year, GAC has been steadily expanding all over the world, with a new 3PL facility in India in earlier this month, thirteen new agency offices in Australia in December 2007, new facilities in the Czech Republic and Bahrain in November 2007, the launch of GAC Events Asia in September 2007, the expansion of GAC-Samudera Indonesia Logistics in May 2007 and the establishment of a new JV in South Africa with Laser Logistics in March 2007.

Säfverström spoke to eyefortransport about the new acquisition and the company’s growth plans.

“The GAC group continues to grow its business steadily. The acquisition of OBC (our third acquisition of a GAC Shipping global agency network partner in three years) is just one component of the company’s overall growth strategy. The GAC Group’s philosophy is to go “wherever our customers go”. To satisfy our customers, there is a constant need for us to evaluate where we are on a global basis, take stock of our services and then identify global network associates or make an acquisition or take a majority stake in a company as in this case.”

As far as acquisitions are concerned, Säfverström says that GAC does not rule out any region or industry vertical.

“Where we identify commonality and synergies in our services and operations, and we feel that it would serve our clients better in the end, GAC will consider acquisition as it can result in improved services and cost reductions. These benefits are passed on to our customers.”