PE pounces on logistics tech play AFS Logistics

PE pounces on logistics tech play AFS Logistics

Mid-market private equity firm The Growth Fund has taken delivery of a controlling equity stake in global freight broker AFS Logistics.

Street Talk can reveal The Growth Fund has signed a deal to buy a 60 per cent stake in the tech-enabled third and fourth-party logistics provider, in a deal designed to ramp up AFS Logistics’ growth and provide support with succession planning.

AFS Logistics was founded 25 years ago and was pitched to potential investors as a logistics/tech play. The company’s AFS Moveit Technology directs, connects, tracks and reports on movements at each point in a supply chain, while its other services include carrier management and selection.

It is understood The Growth Fund’s Craig Cartner oversaw his firm’s investment, which was struck after an auction run by Miles Advisory.

AFS Logistics was pitched to private equity and trade groups as a high growth tech-enabled logistics play, with $160 million revenue a year and a footprint that had doubled in the past five years. It attracted interest from a handful of growth-focused private equity groups, before agreeing to put together a deal with Sydney-based The Growth Fund.

The deal multiple was said to be consistent with what Singapore Post paid for rival Australian logistics play and 4PL technology platform owner Freight Management Holdings late last year. SingPost invested $85 million for a 38 per cent stake, in a deal valuing it at about $220 million.

AFS Logistics is owned by founder Tony Bates, who is also the company’s sole director according to accounts filed with the corporate regulator. The group reported $123.5 million revenue in the year to June 30 last year, up from $107.5 million in FY19.

The business joins The Growth Fund’s portfolio alongside the likes of chicken producer M&J Chickens, diagnostic imaging group Quantum Radiology and flight training business Soar Aviation.

AFR, 6 July 2021