Hillebrand: Acquisition will solidify position
Rahway N.J.-based J.S. Hillebrand USA's purchase of Trans Ocean
Distribution “will solidify our position in wine and spirits Logistics,” said David Ferris, Hillebrand's president.
Last week Ferris' company acquired 100 percent of the shares of Trans Ocean, the leading provider of plastic flexitanks liners, used to transport liquid bulk products in standard shipping containers.
Ferris noted the acquisition would allow Hillebrand to essentially acquire flexitanks made at Trans Ocean’s factories in Malaysia and China at cost, and take advantage of the firms expertise in the flexitank logistics business — not only for wine, but other commodities as well.
About one-third of the 45,000 TEUs that Trans Ocean moves annually are filled with wine; the others are used to move everything from edible oils to latex.
The economics of moving wine in bulk rather than in glass bottles can be compelling, especially for less expensive wines selling for about $3 to $8 a bottle, Ferris said. He notes there have been big increases in production of wine in recent years as well as in bottling capacity.
A flexi in a 20-foot container holds 24,000 liters, nearly five times the density of a container holding glass bottles, he said. A standard load of glass bottles in a 40-foot container is roughly 10,000 liters.
He expects growing numbers of companies may choose to ship product in bulk and then have it bottled near consumers.
Headquartered in Mainz, Germany, JF Hillebrand employs 1,000 people in 36 offices located in 22 countries throughout the world. The company had around a $670 million turnover in 2006, and throughput of more than 170,000 containers.
The company has been a specialist in wines, spirits and beer logistics since 1844.
Trans Ocean is based in Southampton, U.K., with an office in Houston and, employs 250 people in six offices globally, and had about a $100 million turnover in 2006.