Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) is to acquire a 51 per cent shareholding in Fraport Cargo Services (FCS) and tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) it wants to be a, “major player,” at Europe’s largest cargo hub Frankfurt Airport.
The company explains that the deal is part of a strategic partnership with German airport operator Fraport and is central to its strategy to expand in Europe’s major cargo markets.
The acquisition will see Fraport retain a 49 per cent share in FCS and continue to take a substantial role in the management of the company.
WFS president and chief executive officer, Olivier Bijaoui, tells ACW: “It is a natural development for us alongside our already strong positions at Paris [Charles de Gaulle Airport] and London Heathrow [Airport]. Germany is obviously a prime focus in our growth plans.”
Bijaoui could not tell ACW the terms of the deal, saying they have not yet been disclosed. WFS and Fraport plan on closing the transaction by September. He explains to ACW that WFS sees further growth across Europe.
“We are always looking for growth opportunities. We are continuing to grow organically and investing across Europe, such as in Milan Malpensa Airport where we will open a new cargo terminal in 2016,” Bijaoui notes. Expansion is set to continue in Europe, he explains, as there are still places on the radar where WFS wants to establish a, “stronger presence”. Bijaoui tells ACW thatAmsterdam Airport Schiphol is one of the locations it wants to grow organically.
“We will continue to focus on providing the highest quality of service and value for our customers as this drives growth for us, and will continue to look at opportunities in markets where we see the potential to do more,” Bijaoui says. In June, WFS was awarded ground handling licenses to operate at Spain’s Madrid, Seville, Santiago, Oviedo and Vitoria airports.
In 2014, WFS handled more than four million tonnes of cargo at 145 airports across the globe. Fraport executive board chairman, Stefan Schulte, explains: “As in the past, the cargo business continues to be vitally important for our business model. To continue developing our cargo handling business successfully, it has been our wish to find a strong and competent partner that offers a strong international network.”
Schulte says the strategic partnership with WFS gives Fraport the opportunity to gain a broader base for further development of FCS in the future. FCS is the largest provider of cargo handling services at Frankfurt Airport. Last year, tonnage at Frankfurt rose 1.8 per cent to 2.1 million tonnes. FCS employs more than 600 cargo handling staff at freight centres at Frankfurt’s CargoCity South and provides cargo services to many airlines.