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3i completes ABX LOGISTICS buyout

3i, Europe's leading private equity company, today announces that 3i and funds advised by 3i have completed the acquisition from the Belgian Railways (SNCB Holding) of Brussels-based ABX LOGISTICS Worldwide, one of the world's top international freight forwarders and logistics services providers handling air, sea and road consignments.

The acquisition excludes the local road distribution business in Belgium which represents less than 3% of total group turnover. This will be retained by SNCB Holding. The international activities from and to Belgium ("road international", "air & sea", "contract logistics") - which are expanding strongly - are to remain part of the ABX LOGISTICS Worldwide Group.

ABX LOGISTICS was formed between 1998 and 2001 by means of a series of acquisitions, and now operates in close to 100 countries worldwide and through own operations in 35 countries. The company currently has a turnover of €2.5bn and a workforce of circa 10,000 people. ''Freight forwarding'' refers to the organisation on behalf of 3rd party clients of their international freight transport requirements and involves, amongst other things, the consolidation of goods on pallets or in containers, and the subsequent arrangement of their carriage via sub-contracted transport providers (shipping lines, airfreight carriers, or haulage firms) and the custom clearance.

Stuart McMinnies and Robert Van Goethem, Partners within 3i''s European Buyouts business who led the transaction commented: "ABX LOGISTICS is recognised by its customers as providing a highly flexible and bespoke service. This, combined with a management team of the highest quality and a market underpinned by increasing trade from Eastern Europe and Asia, led to our interest in the business. We look forward to supporting ABX LOGISTICS to continue growing and developing internationally, and delivering even more for its customers".

Laurent Levaux, CEO of ABX LOGISTICS Worldwide, added "We are delighted to work with 3i. They understand our business and have been able to bring together with SNCB Holding the expertise necessary to manage this complex privatisation process. In addition, 3i''s global footprint, combined with their local knowledge and experience will give them an edge in understanding how our global company operates on a local level. With the support of 3i, we shall continue in the future to develop the business through market and acquisitive growth, whilst maintaining the high standards of service and flexibility that our customers have come to expect and trust."

3i is backing the existing management team, led by Laurent Levaux, Chief Executive Officer. Laurent Levaux joined ABX LOGISTICS in March 2003. He previously led the successful turnaround of international engineering group CMI. Before that he was a partner at McKinsey for 10 years. Laurent Levaux holds an MBA from the University of Chicago. Rob Kuijpers, formerly at DHL and SN Brussels Airlines, will also join the Board as a non-executive director.

ABX LOGISTICS was established in 1993 as a local transport company, part of the Belgian railways group SNCB/NMBS. After securing its position within the Belgian market, the company expanded between 1998 and 2001 on a global scale with the acquisition of three long-established European companies: Saima Avandero in Italy (founded in 1746), THL/Bahntrans in Germany (founded in 1800), and the Dubois Group in France (founded in 1912). These 3 companies have been supplemented by other smaller acquisitions in Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and UK in order to complete the network and propose services on a global scale. This has turned the Belgian local operator into the global leader in freight forwarding and logistics with strong reputation and references it is today.

Notes to editors

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on buyouts, growth capital and venture capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and Asia. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

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