The strategic acquisition follows the group's recent venture into the Chinese market with the launch of the joint venture company with SinoAir and the acquisition of OneWorld Courier and In-Time Couriers in Kenya in the first quarter of 2011.
"For some time, the group has viewed South Africa as an attractive market with a business friendly environment and significant growth prospects. This acquisition of a company that we have long admired for its t culture, management and brand, will introduce exciting growth and development opportunities for us in Africa," said Fadi Ghandour, founder and CEO of Aramex.
"This acquisition, which is in line with our long-term strategy to strengthen our presence in key emerging markets around the world, is a major step towards the realization of our goal of being the logistics and transportation company of choice in those markets."
Berco Express had evolved from a courier company to a leading provider of transportation and logistics services, with a significant share of the country's freight and logistics market. It operates 15 branches throughout South Africa and employs more than 700 people.
"We are very happy to be handing over the reins to a company that shares our culture and ethics," says Bernard Cox, outgoing chairman of the company.
Commenting on the significance of the acquisition, Andy van der Velde, CEO of Berco Express stated, "The management and staff are excited to join a leading global logistics and transportation solution provider and we look forward to becoming an integral part of its global network.
"The product offering in South Africa will be even further developed and expanded with the group's full range of solutions. Improved technology, best logistics practice and a committed team around the world are only some of the benefits this acquisition brings to our staff, customers and suppliers."
The full range of services offered by the group will be introduced to the South African market including integrated logistics solutions, international and domestic express delivery, freight forwarding, secure records and information management solutions and e-services, including e-business solutions and Shop and Ship. In the second phase, it plans to expand further across Southern Africa with the opening of additional offices and warehouses, while training and developing South African employees to meet the needs of its customers in South Africa and to support the expansion strategy across Africa.
"The group has in-depth knowledge and understanding of this company, as we have been working together since 2005, as part of the global distribution alliance," said Hussein Hachem, CEO for Middle East and Africa, Aramex. "With this acquisition we are also gaining strong local talent and expertise that builds on the group's global reach and innovative technology.
"We were attracted to the company's existing platform for growth in sub-Saharan Africa and the regional knowledge and experience it has built over the years. We will use South Africa as a platform for our expansion into the Southern African region, while connecting South Africa and the wider region, to global trade hubs."
This acquisition is testament to the group's belief in the strong growth potential of South Africa and the African continent as a whole, which recorded extremely strong growth rates. "We believe that this decade will be Africa's and, with six of the world's ten fastest-growing countries over the past decade in Africa, we are committed to the future of the continent," concluded Ghandour.