Atlanta-based trading and advisory firm Perdue Partners LLC has acquired Benton Express Inc. to serve the logistics needs of customers in the Southeast.
Benton is a 78-year-old family-owned logistics company with annual sales of more than $50 million.
Perdue Partners, founded by a four partners including former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, will maintain Benton's 500 employees and 300 trucks. Benton has more than 600 customers around the region and is focused on less-than-truckload shipments - small volumes of anything from clothing to tires, Heidi Green, one of Perdue Partners' founders, told Global Atlanta.
In the first of what the company hopes will be many acquisitions, Perdue Partners aims to add value by investing capital, improving management and pairing Benton's large logistics network, especially in port cities, with trade clients that Perdue is already advising on how to sell products abroad, said Ms. Green, a former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
The firm's trade business has exclusively focused on helping Georgia firms export since its launch in April 2011. That has mostly involved commodities like soybeans and wheat, but the firm is also eyeing finished goods.
Ms. Green and Mr. Perdue recently returned from a trip to China and Korea, where they met with buyers and companies interested in investing in the Southeast - another side of their business.
"What we found is that we're very well-received and that there is a lot of opportunity for U.S. products abroad," Ms. Green said.
Trey Childress, a partner in Perdue Partners and former chief operating officer of the state of Georgia, will become president of Benton, which will continue to operate largely as it had.
"We want to grow jobs. That's the point of this, absolutely. There's no slash and burn here," Ms. Green said.
For more information, visit www.perduepartners.com.