At a conference call with analysts the day after its acquisition of Norbert Dentressangle was announced, XPO Logistics chief executive officer Bradley Jacobs explained why the US firm wanted ND and what plans it has to develop it. Here with the highlights…

Why XPO wanted ND:

“It’s our most transformational acquisition yet – the iconic Norbert Dentressangle. ND is one of the most important transportation and logistics companies in the world.

“It's going to make XPO a fully global supply chain solutions provider. We'll have over 52,000 employees at 863 locations in 27 countries and we're going to serve more than 30,000 customers. We'll have about $8.5bn of revenue and about $545m of EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation].

“There are only a handful of companies in our industry worldwide who operate at this level… and we're going to be in the top 10.”

On the difference it will make to customers:

“We believe scale is imperative in this business in order to serve customers effectively, as customers value deep access to capacity and a broad range of services.

“This combination will be very positive for our customers. We've already had a very positive reaction from the customers we have contacted. We're going to be able to better meet customers' needs and provide more solutions globally in both directions.

“Many of our current customers have a major presence in Europe that we'll now be able to serve with our new platform. They've been asking us to do more for them in other parts of the world, and now we'll be able to say ‘yes’.

“Having that that access to those 7,700 trucks, having trucks in 90% of the GDP [producing regions] of the eurozone is a big advantage with customers. There are so many customers, especially in Europe, who won't deal with you unless you have the assets. That's the foot in the door.”

On the integration of ND:

“Norbert's service range closely mirrors our own and our geographies are complementary.  The company we are acquiring has been built meticulously, step by step, in a very organised way and over 36 years it has become an icon in Europe.

“This is not a company that needs a whole lot of improvements. It's a company that is doing just fine. It's very well positioned and very well respected throughout all of Europe by the customer base. And it’s a company that has very long-term relationships with a real blue-chip customer list. This is a company in good shape.

"Substantially all the management team under Hervé's leadership is staying in place, has their head in the game and is excited about this. So there's not a whole lot of front-end integration to be done, other than our sales and marketing and branding.”

On rationalisation:

“There are not a lot of cost synergies. We operate in different geographies, except for the contract logistics in the US, and we don't plan on having layoffs. This is a deal around growth, building up, being able to serve customers more…. we do not plan to lay off anybody in terms of the total headcount.

“The overall headcount will stay the same or will go up. That's our model here, and that's what we're committed to.

“If we're wrong about [predicted future growth in] the Eurozone, it will be a productivity challenge. The solution won't be about firing people. That's not what this is about. That's not our intention whatsoever.”

On further acquisitions:

"With ND, we have a whole new platform, a whole new geographic area, to do more acquisitions. We have already examined ND's top acquisition targets... and I'm happy we know where the landmines are and where the crown jewels are.

“We would have been nervous, frankly, of doing any acquisitions in Europe prior to ND, because we didn't have a platform, we didn't have a management team and we didn't have an infrastructure, so what would we be integrating those acquisitions into?

“Now we've got this great platform with a tremendous management team and tremendous infrastructure and tremendous knowledge and expertise in the market, there are some interesting things to do here...”

On the implications for XPO:

“Post-acquisition, we will be one of the world's largest contract logistics providers and contract logistics is a business that has long-term relationships with customers and high value-add and high barriers to entry.

“We will be the third largest provider of intermodal services in North America, a sector that is growing. We will be the second largest freight brokerage firm globally, by net revenue. We will be the largest provider of last-mile services for heavy goods in North America. We will be the number one manager of expedited freight shipments.

“We will be a leading provider of forwarding services across air and sea. We will be a leading e-commerce fulfilment organisation in Europe.

“We will be a company that has a true global footprint and a very compelling value proposition for our multinational customers.”