Across the Rhine
French players are discovering ever-more opportunities in Germany. France’s Heppner Group, for example, recently landed its third coup there in the last four years, purchasing the ABC-Logistik group of firms, active in the region of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers.
Actually, things usually go the other way. According to the ‘Business France’ investment agency, Germany was the second-largest foreign investor in France in 2020 (behind the USA), investing 17% of FDI. There were 201 German investment projects in France in 2020, and 14% thereof belonged in the logistics sector. The French, in turn, came up with 83 new investment projects of their own in 2020. German firms operate around 4,600 sites in France; about 5,700 French companies, in turn, have branch offices in Germany.
In September the Heppner Group, founded in 1925 in the Alsace region in the east of the country, where the Rhine forms the border with Germany, again expanded its portfolio in the neighbouring country. The group, which specialises in cross-border transport between France and Germany, amongst other things, has taken over the family-run ABC group of companies operating from Düsseldorf and Krefeld. It consists of ABC-Logistik, ABC-Warehousing and a subsidiary – ‘incharge – Smart City Centre Logistics’.
ABC, founded by Holger te Heesen in 1997, has a backbone of 60,000 m2 of warehousing space and generated sales worth EUR 22 million in 2020. The group is a member of the CTL network in Germany, which will further enable the firms to increase the frequency of transports between western Germany and France.
Adding to a big German network
Heppner’s acquisition continues its growth in Germany. In 2018 it bought Hamacher Logistik (based in Gronau, Westphalia, near the German-Dutch border); early in 2021 it started a strategic partnership with the Osnabrück-based firm Koch International.
270 employees will join Heppner, which handles 30% of its overland transports between France and Germany – around 400,000 general cargo shipments a year. The firm now has 16 agencies on the other side of the Rhine.