Press Release

TPG acquires fashion distributor Bleckmann Group

Publish Date : 14 December 2001 at 10:33 CET - Mail, Express and Logistics company TPG N.V. announced today that it has acquired, through its UK-based Express-unit TNT Retail Express, Bleckmann Group B.V. from shareholders UBS Capital BV, OPM B.V. and management of the company.

Bleckmann is The Netherlands' leading provider of transport and warehousing solutions for the fashion sector. This acquisition signals a major expansion of the TNT Express garment distribution activities in mainland Europe. The acquisition, which is still subject to approval by the appropriate authorities, is expected to be earning accretive for TPG in 2002.

Bleckmann will become a wholly owned subsidiary of TNT Retail Express. Since its foundation in 1986 TNT Retail Express has achieved market leadership mainly through organic growth in the UK and Ireland shared user fashion distribution sector. TNT Retail Express has more than 350 employees in the UK and its customers include Alexon, Jaeger, Kookai, Primark, House of Fraser, Mothercare, Monsoon, Wrangler and Bairds.

Bleckmann employs 815 staff, including 595 people in the Netherlands, and operates 23 major garment warehouses. Its customers include Gant, Donna Karan, Columbia Sportswear, Melka Tenson, Gerry Weber, Nautica and Marca. The company enjoys excellent relationships with major fashion companies in Europe and the USA and is a leading member of the Europe wide Fashionet distribution consortium.

Alan Jones, Board Member of TPG and Group Managing Director of TNT Express, sees an excellent fit between Bleckmann and the existing TNT Retail Express business: "The leading names in the fashion sector are expanding in mainland Europe by opening more retail outlets and sourcing an increasing proportion of their products on the continent. Our aim is to provide fast and reliable pan-European distribution solutions, and for the fashion & lifestyle sectors this means operating a specialist network capable of handling both boxed and hanging merchandise. Bleckmann has an excellent network of garment depots, warehouses and regular linehaul vehicle routes throughout Europe and is particularly strong in Eastern Europe, which has become one of the world's key fashion production regions."

Bleckmann's brand name will be retained and its existing management team, headed by Kees Meijer (41) will remain in place, reporting to Cris Stephenson, Divisional Managing Director TNT Retail Express. Meijer is looking forward to the prospect of continued growth for his company within TPG: "We are proud to become part of TNT Express, with its strong focus on service excellence and its sophisticated IT infrastructure. TNT Retail Express will now be able to combine its expertise in the UK and fashion distribution industry with that of Bleckmann in continental Europe. With our forces joined and as part of a strong parent we are well positioned to be the industry leader in Europe."

Page publication date: 14 December 2001 at 10:33 CET