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Third-party logistics: Growth requires fresh capital. Klaus-Michael Kuehne, majority shareholder, chairman, chief executive and grandson of co-founder, talks about the future of Kuehne & Nagel and the future of forwarding.
Privately held Kuehne & Nagel International AG wants to grow as a third-party logistics provider, and will take itself public in 1994 to help fund its strategy.
A Kuehne & Nagel stock issue will likely take place sooner in the year, rather than later, possibly as early as January.
The Switzerland-based freight forwarder has had a public offering in mind for some time, though it didn't expect to issue shares for another two or three years.
However, consistently buoyant trading conditions at the Zurich and Frankfurt stock exchanges led Kuehne & Nagel to move its schedule forward.
"If the climate at the stock exchanges is still favorable we would like to accelerate it," said chairman and chief executive, Klaus-Michael Kuehne during an interview at corporate headquarters.
The initial flotation will consist of 10 percent of the company's shares, those presently held by Deutsche Handelsbank AG. This will be boosted by a capital increase, bringing the whole package up to some 15 percent of Kuehne & Nagel's overall capital, a relatively modest first venture into the public markets.
"It is a small amount," Kuehne acknowledged, "but it leaves us capital to initiate shares at a later date.
"It is my personal wish to change into a public company and to have the possibilities of the stock exchange for fresh capital," Kuehne added.
It is difficult to predict how investors will receive a freight forwarder offering since the industry, particularly the large European leaders, have traditionally been more private than public.
For the past 15 years Kuehne & Nagel has been one of the few exceptions, gradually allowing an expanding view inside. It started by releasing consolidated balance sheets to banks and close business partners.
Four years ago it began publishing annual reports, all of which should make the transition from private to public a little easier.
In 1992 Kuehne & Nagel earned 38.6 million Swiss francs ($25.9 million) on revenue of Sfr …