Pharmaceutical group buys Nissan importer

News Story
- 11 May 2006 ( #259 ) - SYDNEY, Australia
2 min read
Powerlift Nissan's Sydney headquarters.
Powerlift Nissan's Sydney headquarters.
Zuellig Group, a world-leading pharmaceutical distributor, has branched out into the Australian forklift business, buying Nissan forklift importer Powerlift Nissan.

Zuellig already owns New Zealand's largest importer, distributor and retailer of agricultural and industrial equipment, CB Norwood Distributors, and Loadlift Equipment Ltd, a Nissan forklift distributor in New Zealand.

Zuellig Group's industrial equipment group CEO Kim Campbell said the acquisition provided a natural alignment with the company's business in New Zealand.

"We will leverage our strong New Zealand presence to become one of Australasia's largest suppliers of agricultural and industrial equipment," Campbell said. CB Norwood and Loadlift combined bring Zuellig an estimated annual turnover of NZD240 million (USD150.6 million).

The acquisition marks Zuellig's re-entry into the Australian industry. In 2004, Zuellig sold its 14 per cent shareholding in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) after API and Zuellig differed on company strategy.

Campbell said there would be no major shake-ups for Powerlift Nissan employees.

"This is an integration story. We're not putting new people in.

"We like the materials handling business. We think there's scope for a higher level of service offering than what's out there. There will be no dramatic changes other than a better-run business," he said.

Zuellig would not disclose the acquisition price but the figure is expected to be more than AUD50 million (USD38.1 million), based on Powerlift's rental fleet of around 2,500 forklifts.

Campbell said Zuellig was targeting a four per cent increase in market share over the next three to four years. Powerlift currently has a 16 per cent share of the Australian market for its Nissan and SMV forklifts.

He said Zuellig would grow its rental fleet and the overall business aggressively by improving customer service.

"If your service is not there, your business goes to junk very quickly."

Powerlift CEO Ray Woods said the company had received the Zuellig Group purchase favourably.

"The new owners obviously want to grow the business. This will be good for employees, manufacturers and customers," he said.

Powerlift Nissan is the Australian distributor of SMV and Nissan forklifts. It has represented Nissan since it was established in 1987. The company operates several retail dealerships for SMV and Nissan. It had turnover of more than AUD70 million (USD54.3 million) in 2005.

Zuellig Group is a privately held USD5 billion group, based in Hong Kong. Its business spans four sectors, health care & pharmaceuticals, agricultural manufacturing & distribution, agricultural equipment supply & materials handling, and property.
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