DHL exploring sale of US 'last-mile' delivery unit - sources

Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:26am EST

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* Three sources say DHL seeking to sell Exel Direct unit

* Unit could be sold for about $100 million - source

* E-commerce has driven growth in "last-mile" delivery

By A. Ananthalakshmi and Matthias Inverardi

Jan 30 (Reuters) - Deutsche Post's DHL is considering selling its "last-mile" delivery unit in the United States, a service used by retailers to deliver bulky products to consumers, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

DHL could sell its Exel Direct unit, part of its Exel supply chain in the United States, for about $100 million, one of the three sources said.

A Deutsche Post spokesman declined to comment. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The rise of e-commerce has led to a boom in "last-mile" delivery services, used by retailers like Amazon.com Inc to deliver televisions, furniture and other large products that might require installation in a customer's home.

Exel Direct's customers include retailers Williams-Sonoma Inc, Sears Holdings Corp and Office Depot Inc , according to its website.

Exel Direct also declined to comment. The unit's annual revenue is about $150 million and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) is less than $10 million, two of the three sources said.

One of the sources said boutique investment bank Finnea Group was advising on the sale. Finnea did not respond to requests for comment.

Birmingham, Michigan-based Finnea advised DHL in the sale of another Exel unit to Hub Group in 2011.