Carlyle invests in US logistics company

The Carlyle Group’s majority stake in intermodal operator ITS Technologies & Logistics represents the latest deal in a growing trend of private equity real estate firms targeting the industrial and logistics space.

The Carlyle Group has acquired a majority interest in ITS Technologies & Logistics, a logistics operator based in the US, with operations in the US and Mexico. The firm acquired a majority stake in the company from Lanigan Holdings. The Lanigan Family will retain a minority interest in the company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition was made through Carlyle’s $1.1 billion Carlyle Infrastructure Partners fund, which closed late last year, and which invests primarily in transportation and water infrastructure projects in the US and Canada. This is the second deal for the fund, and its first in the intermodal logistics space.

Barry Gold, Carlyle managing director and co-head of the infrastructure team told PERE that the logistics sector is “the backbone of moving commerce in the US – a lot of things come in through ports but you have to move them from ports to trucks to rail and around the country…You can also move things from coast-to-coast. It’s a way to really connect the US – which is the key to keeping goods and services moving.”

ITS operates from 52 locations in the US and three locations in Mexico, lifting containers from rail to truck and truck to rail and also performing rail switching, terminal administration and equipment maintenance. It performs approximately five million lifts (or intermodal units) annually.

“ITS is a great platform company to grow into the intermodal logistics space,” said Gold. “We’ll be looking at other companies, other contracts, other sites and related businesses to help grow this company.”

The past year has seen a significant number of private equity real estate firms investing in the global industrial and logistics space, with the volume of global trade continuing to grow. According to the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the value of trade by rail between the US and two other NAFTA countries, Mexico and Canada, increased 50 percent between 2000 and 2007. The value for commodities transported by truck increased nearly 40 percent over the same period.

Today global real estate investment firm LaSalle Investment Management also announced it was partnering with Realty Vailog, an Italian industrial development company, on a joint venture to acquire and develop logistics facilities in the Greater Shanghai Region of China. Once the deal is complete LaSalle will have a total of 320,000 square meters of logistics space in the Shanghai region.