Ceva Logistics aims to list on the stock exchange before the European summer as its private equity owner Apollo hopes to take advantage of buoyant stock market valuations, people close to the matter said.
Apollo is working with Rothschild as advisor and has mandated Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse to act as global coordinators for the planned initial public offering (IPO), which may value Ceva Logistics at around $3 billion including debt, the sources said.
Apollo, Ceva Logistics and the banks declined to comment.
Apollo acquired Ceva Logistics, formerly TNT Logistics, from Dutch postal and telecommunications company KPN in 2006, and later merged it with U.S. peer EGL.
Last year, Ceva Logistics posted adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $280 million on revenues of $7 billion.
Peers such as Kuehne und Nagel or DSV trade at 15 to 17 their expected core earnings. But one of the sources said that highly-leveraged Ceva Logistics will likely only reap a valuation including debt of about 10 to 12 times expected 2018 core earnings of just below $300 million.
Ceva Logistics is expected to use some of the proceeds from the IPO - which may take place in Zurich - to pay down debt, which stood at $2.1 billion at the end of 2017.
Last year, a sale of Ceva Logistics to France's Geodis for an estimated $2.8 billion failed after months of negotiations, sources familiar with the matter have said.
Ceva Logistics employs 40,000 staff and books roughly half of its business in contract logistics, with freight management accounting for the rest.
Netherlands-based Ceva would join an increasingly crowded European market for initial public offerings, which includes Siemens' Healthineers unit, Deutsche Bank's DWS float as well as the listings of Gategroup and Swissport in Switzerland.
(Additional reporting by Oliver Hirt; Editing by Maria Sheahan)