Sales footprint expanded in Eastern Europe
Edenred, through its subsidiary UTA, is acquiring a 51% stake in its distributor Timex Card based in Poland, which also operates in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine. Alongside the acquisition, UTA will begin its own operations in Bulgaria. Across these six countries, nearly 1,800 transportation companies use today UTA solutions, which provide access to a network of more than 54,000 partner service stations.
This will strengthen the position of UTA, the number two Europe-wide issuer of multi-brand fuel cards, in Eastern Europe and thereby help speed up the development of its offering in this dynamic region. Poland is indeed Europe’s leading international transportation market and, together with the Baltic states account for almost 35% of the European cabotage market in terms of metric tons per kilometer.
These operations are in line with the development strategy of Edenred’s Fleet and mobility solutions in Eastern Europe, a region where the Group is already solidly established through its Employee Benefits business.
“One year ago, when Edenred became the majority shareholder of UTA, we expressed our willingness to accelerate the commercial development of its heavy fleet solutions in Eastern Europe. With the acquisition of Timex Card, we seize a unique opportunity to rapidly increase our presence in high-growth markets,” said Antoine Dumurgier, Chief Operating Officer of Edenred Fleet & Mobility solutions.
“By becoming a majority shareholder in Timex Card and establishing its own operations in Bulgaria, UTA will be even closer to its clients and thereby be able to accelerate the development of its offer”, said Volker Huber, Chief Executive Officer of UTA.
“Combining Edenred’s strong market presence with UTA’s range of high-quality solutions and the industry experience of Timex Card, which has been a distributor for more than 25 years on the Polish market and for more than ten years in the Baltic states and Ukraine, will give us significant leverage to seize new opportunities”, said Andrzej Sklodowski, Chief Executive Officer of Timex Card.
Edenred to increase its stake in UTA to 83%
Following the Daimler group’s exercise of an option to sell a 15% stake in UTA at the end of December 2017, Edenred’s interest has increased to 66%. The Group has also been informed by Hermes Mineralöl GmbH, a co-founder company and a minority shareholder of UTA, of its intention to exercise its option to sell a 17% stake . This transaction is subject to approval from the relevant competition authorities and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2018. Upon completion of the two transactions, Edenred will hold an 83% interest in UTA.
These operations are expected to have an accretive effect on net profit, Group share, as soon as 2017, and an unsignificant impact on the consolidated net debt.
Bertrand Dumazy, Chairman and CEO of Edenred, said, ”our increased stake in UTA is, at a time of geographic expansion’s acceleration in Eastern Europe, a significant step for the development of Fleet and mobility solutions, a major focus of our strategic plan Fast Forward.”
Altogether, Edenred’s geographic expansion in Eastern Europe and its increase in UTA’s stake represent a cash-out amount of around €180 million.