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Lineage’s Acquisition of Emergent Cold Expands US Port Network and Asia-Pacific Presence

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Novi, Michigan-headquartered Lineage Logistics has signed definitive agreements to buy Emergent Cold, which operates 46 refrigerated warehouse facilities in North America, Australasia and South Asia. Financial terms were not disclosed for the deal, which is expected to be finalized in 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

The acquisition will strengthen the company’s port presence in the United States and signifies its entry into the Australian, New Zealand, and Sri Lankan temperature-controlled logistics markets, building on Lineage’s existing presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Emergent Cold’s assets in Australia include the bustling Melbourne-based Oxford Cold Storage operation.

“Food producers, manufacturers and retailers are looking for cold chain partners who can offer a dynamic and truly end-to-end temperature-controlled logistics solution, and one that can reach every corner of the world,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, president and chief executive officer of Lineage. “Welcoming Emergent to the Lineage family not only adds significant capacity to our international footprint, but also deepens our commitment to our port strategy and international trade. We are better able to help customers respond to constantly shifting market dynamics, such as global network optimization, tariff impacts, consumer preference shifts, and much more, while at the same time unlocking new potential market opportunities to sell their goods.”

Following closing of the transactions, the combined company will possess over 1.7 billion cubic feet of temperature-controlled capacity across 260 facilities in 10 countries, with a global footprint that spans North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

With the acquisition, Lineage adds a newly constructed distribution center in the Dallas-Fort Worth market as well as four US port facilities in New Orleans, Houston and Charleston to its expansive network of locations supporting import, export and customs brokerage services. The transaction also includes the purchase of real estate at facility sites currently leased by Emergent under long-term lease agreements.

Lineage’s acquisition of Emergent Cold includes refrigerated warehousing operations at a number of key ports in the United States, including this New Orleans Cold Storage facility in Louisiana. US port facilities in New Orleans.

Emergent’s Impressive Emergence

Emergent, which was founded in 2017 by Elliott Management and Neal Rider, brings to Lineage an experienced management team with a proven track record of growth and longstanding relationships with customers in global markets.

“Joining Lineage accelerates our goal of providing the highest quality global cold chain solutions to our customers,” said Rider, Emergent’s founder and chief executive officer.  “Lineage has established itself as a leader in our industry, and expanding its global footprint and port presence with the addition of Emergent will create incredible opportunities for our collective customers.”

He added: “I also want to thank Elliott Management for believing in and backing us when Emergent Cold was just an idea, and our Executive Chairman Chris Jamroz for his tireless leadership and support. Their partnership, support and expertise has been critical in driving Emergent’s success, and we are looking forward to the next chapter with Bay Grove [the principal investment firm backing Lineage] and Lineage.”

“We partnered with Neal because we saw a compelling opportunity to support his vision for building a globally significant cold storage company,” said Cody Kittle, associate portfolio manager at Elliott Management. “In less than two years, we were able to acquire seven high-performing businesses and launch two greenfield facilities across six countries and four continents, while driving significant top and bottom line improvement across our operations. We congratulate Neal, the Emergent team and Lineage, who we think is a well-suited partner for Emergent. We are looking forward to remaining equity holders in the combined entity.”

“As an innovative leader in global cold storage, we look forward to making Emergent part of the Lineage team,” said Chris Jamroz, Emergent’s executive chairman.

Much Respect for Management Team

“We have been following Emergent’s impressive growth trajectory and have a long-standing respect for their management team. We’re excited to bring their capabilities, relationships and growth pipeline into our organization,” said Kevin Marchetti, co-founder and managing partner of San Francisco, California-headquartered Bay Grove. “Together, our teams are committed to strengthening our important relationships with customers by leveraging our expansive network and applying innovative solutions to their most pressing challenges.”

The transactions also position Lineage to take advantage of growing demand for cold storage space in Australia – a market valued at $5 billion – and in neighboring New Zealand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. The sector is rapidly evolving and is an integral part of Asia-Pacific’s domestic and international supply chains for food products including dairy, seafood, raw and cooked meat, poultry, frozen vegetables and other frozen and chilled foods. Once the deal closes, Lineage will be poised to help customers meet growing export demand and their need for a more expansive supply chain.

Since its founding in 2008, Lineage has expanded rapidly by acquiring best-in-class cold storage companies, deploying capital into new projects and growing the business organically. The company’s acquisition of Emergent builds on its past successes in integrating complementary companies into its portfolio.