$2.8 billion Swissport sale to HNA

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Swissport workers loading a priority unit load device

Swissport International has been bought by Hainan Airlines’ parent company the HNA Group for 2.7 billion Swiss francs ($2.82 billion).

The cargo handling and cargo services firm has been bought by HNA from its owner, the French private equity firm PAI Partners (PAI).
HNA says under its ownership, it will continue to expand Swissport’s its global footprint and, “deliver the highest quality and value added services to existing and future customers”.
Closing of the transaction, which is subject to customary anti-trust approvals and approval of Chinese authorities, is expected to occur around the end of the year.

Swissport chairman, Thomas Staehelin, says: “We are pleased to become part of HNA Group and to continue to further strengthening our service offering and global network.”
Swissport handles 4.1 million tonnes of cargo a year on behalf of around 700 clients. The company has a workforce of about 60,000 personnel and is active at more than 270 stations in 48 countries across five continents. Last year, it generated consolidated operating revenue of three billion Swiss francs.

HNA president, Adam Tan, explains: “HNA is excited to support Swissport’s world class management team as they continue to provide the highest quality service to the airline industry and their passengers. HNA is committed to Swissport’s future success in the global aviation market.”

In 2014, the HNA Group had revenues in excess of $25 billion, $72 billion in assets, 11 listed companies, and employed more than 110,000 employees worldwide.

During the period of PAI’s investment, Swissport increased its exposure and developed strong positions in faster growing markets in Latin America, Middle East and Africa.
The company also closed and integrated several acquisitions, including Flightcare, a ground handling operator in Spain and Belgium, IAS in Costa Rica and ground handler Servisair.

PAI partner, Ricardo de Serdio, explains: “The acquisition by HNA of Swissport confirms the strategic value of the company as being the worldwide leader and consolidation platform in the still fragmented airport services market. The acquisition by HNA will enable the company to grow in the underpenetrated Asian markets and in China in particular thanks to HNA’s strong roots in the region.”