Atlas World Group acquires Bekins Distribution Services

March 8, 2004

EVANSVILLE — Atlas World Group, one of the nation's fastest-growing providers of transportation and relocation solutions, has acquired one of the largest specialized logistics companies in the United States, creating a virtual "logistics giant" headquartered along the U.S. 41 corridor.

Atlas World Group acquired the assets and business of St. Louis-based Bekins Distribution Services Co., Inc., on Feb. 26. The business will be operated as BDS Worldwide, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Evansville-based Atlas.

An international leader in the transit solutions industry, Atlas, through its subsidiaries, transports household goods and also handles sophisticated logistics issues such as moving and installing exhibits, store fixtures, electronics and fine art. BDS Worldwide provides transportation, warehousing and installation services to commercial customers in industries ranging from retail to hospitality.

"Adding BDS Worldwide to the Atlas family truly is a win-win for our companies and our respective customers," said Mike Shaffer, Atlas chairman and CEO. "We each get to tap the other's expertise and talent, while our customers get access to more services in more markets."

The BDS acquisition continues Atlas' strategic expansion of its brand and a strong pattern of growth in its Specialized Transportation Group, which handles logistics for exhibits, trade shows and high-value equipment. Other growth areas for Atlas include Avail Resource Management, an Atlas subsidiary that helps companies manage transit resources; and Cornerstone Relocation Group, a subsidiary providing single-source corporate relocation services. In its most traditional business segment (household good transportation), Atlas has grown to be the second largest carrier — the third largest overall domestic van line in the U.S.

Bekins Distribution began operations in 1968 as a division of Bekins Van Lines and became a separate corporate entity in 1990 with headquarters in St. Louis and offices in Orlando, Fla. The company's 31 employees will continue to serve corporate and institutional clients who are opening, renovating or relocating facilities by making sure materials, fixtures, furniture and merchandise are moved from multiple vendor locations to their ultimate destinations in a controlled, orderly sequence.

BDS President Dan Kelly, who will continue to run the company from St. Louis, called Atlas' acquisition "a solid and good fit for us."

Atlas is a $550 million company with more than 450 employees at its Evansville headquarters. More than 600 Atlas agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate employee relocation and in the carrier transport of high-value items such as electronics, fine art and new fixtures and furniture.