Swissport to seek IPO and listing on SIX Swiss Exchange

25 / 01 / 2018

Swissport Group is to seek an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and listing of its shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Swissport's sole shareholder, China’s HNA Group, is expected to retain a long-term strategic shareholding following the IPO.

The Switzerland-based global leader in ground handling and cargo services will continue to function as an independent company.

The contemplated IPO is currently anticipated to take place in 2018 and Swissport expects to issue an intention to float announcement later this year.

Swissport handles 4.6m tonnes of cargo per year on behalf of approximately 900 client-companies in the aviation sector. With a workforce of more than 64,000 personnel, Swissport is active at 279 stations in 48 countries across five continents, and generates consolidated operating revenue of €2.8bn

Eric Born, group president and chief executive commented: "The objective of the contemplated IPO is to accelerate Swissport’s long-term growth strategy, provide additional financial flexibility and liquidity, and position the company to strengthen its leadership position and service offerings in the industry."

July 2015 saw HNA Group swoop on Swissport in a Sfr2.73bn deal. It purchased the ground handler from private equity company PAI Partners, which acquired Swissport for more than $900m in 2010. HNA formally completed the Swissport acquisition in February 2016

HNA Group, which has invested in several logistics assets, is facing headwinds following a spending spree that has left the company in debt and concerns over its ownership structure.

Bloomberg reported last month that the company has seen three deals in the last three months fail and its short-term debts have reached $28bn after it spent more than $40bn over the last three years.

Deals were blocked over concerns about the conglomerate's ownership structure.

HNA Group has several outstanding investments, including the purchase of a controlling stake in the owner of Rio de Janeiro's largest airport, Aeroporto Internacional Antônio Carlos Jobim – Galeã (GIG Airport).

In a statement, Swissport said that it is led by an "internationally diverse and highly experienced senior management team with extensive industry expertise and a proven track record in the air services and logistics operation industries".

The statement continued: "Under the company’s current leadership, Swissport has succeeded in growing total revenues, managing costs, introducing new products, and acquiring and successfully integrating new businesses.

"Swissport believes that its senior management team’s collective industry knowledge, successful record in responding to challenging economic conditions and achieving profitable revenue growth, and global outlook will enable the company to continue to execute its strategy and achieve long-term profitable growth."

It added: "The company’s independent management team has been able to leverage and benefit from HNA Group’s resources, support, expertise, and global connections in aviation and tourism in order to accelerate its growth strategy and competitive position in the market.

Benedetto, Gartland and Rothschild are Financial Advisors to Swissport for the proposed IPO, and Swissport is in the process of selecting one or more global coordinators.