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World's Biggest Mover Grows 100 Per Cent Overnight

The world's moving services and records management market leader doubled in size last night, with the merger of Allied Pickfords, Pickfords and Allied Van Lines, with North America Van Lines of Indiana, USA.

Allied Pickfords and Pickfords Records Management have enjoyed an increasing New Zealand presence since 1984, and are part of the worldwide Allied Pickfords moving network.

The transaction, conditional at present pending several regulatory approvals, is valued at approximately US$450 million and has just been announced in New York by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Inc. (CD&R), a private investment firm with offices in London and New York. The merger creates a global industry leader with locations in 36 countries, conducting around a million shipments annually. Worldwide revenues are more than US$2 billion.

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, NFC plc, Allied Pickfords UK parent, receives US$400 million in cash, approximately US$25 million in preferred stock and common stock, representing around 20 percent of the capital stock of North American's parent company, NA Holding Corporation; plus warrants to acquire an additional 10 percent of the common shares outstanding. An investment fund managed by CD&R, management and agents will own the balance of the combined company.

Kevin Pickford continues managing the operations of Allied Pickfords and Pickfords Records Management in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, a position he has held since 1992.

North American said it intends to maintain the high profile brand names of each of the acquired companies.

These are amongst the most recognised household, commercial and industrial brands in the industry including: Allied Pickfords in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Europe; Pickfords in the UK; Allied Van Lines in the US and Canada; and North American Van Lines in the US and Canada. Other brands owned by the company include Arthur Pierre, Varekamp, Hoults, Pitts and Scott and midiData.

The combined company will be a market leader in relocations worldwide, headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA. Executive offices will be maintained in Naperville, Illinios; Enfiels, UK; and Melbourne.

Allied Pickfords Asia Pacific Managing Director, Kevin Pickford, said in Melbourne, "Since North American Van Lines has no significant business in our Asia Pacific region, there is minimal overlap here. The merger will not adversely affect our local operations and work force, nor do we expect any name changes. In fact, more opportunities will now open up."

"We look forward to taking advantage of their logistic skills and IT efficiencies in Asia Pacific and around the world. At the same time, they can draw on our records management, home moving and business relocations experience and unrivalled international network," Mr Pickford said.

Local New Zealand Managing Director, Auckland based Graham Sutcliffe, is very confident of the potential success of the merger.

"We were already the world's biggest before the merger. The global purchasing power, operational breadth and depth Allied Pickfords and Pickfords Records Management now offers, will increase with our ability to bring further best practice and world resource capability to our clients. This deal also puts us in a better position to take advantage of ever-increasing E-commerce opportunities."

Said Joseph.L.Rice, III, Chairman of CD&R, "We are pleased that NFC shares our optimism about the prospects for this merger and will retain a significant equity stake in the new enterprise."


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