Swissport notes solid 2019 but warns of tough times to come

By Rachelle Harry

In its 2019 full-year results, Swissport has announced that its performance last year was “roughly on par with the previously year”.

Swissport achieved an operating ebitda of €272.3m throughout 2019, which compares with €273.2m achieved in 2018.

The company’s revenue increased 4.7% year on year, from €3bn in 2018 to €3.1bn last year.

Divisionally, revenues for Swissport’s air cargo handling increased 5% to €590m. Meanwhile, its ground services sector saw a 4.5% increase in revenues, to €2.4bn.

Last year in Brussels, Swissport opened its new state-of-the-art Swissport Pharma Center.

In Melbourne, Australia, the company has built on the former Aerocare organization and its market position as a platform for growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, Swissport said that its startups in the Middle East had steadily added clients to its customer portfolio and were – prior to the coronavirus outbreak – on track to break-even three years after market entry.

Additionally, Swissport further expanded its airport lounge portfolio under the Aspire brand, with 48 lounges in operation at the end of last year.

Eric Born, group president and chief executive of Swissport International, commented: “Last year was a solid year for Swissport. The 4.7% year-on-year revenue growth, our stable operating result and a positive free cash flow were driven by our operating performance, the first full-year consolidation of our businesses in Australia and New Zealand and by our effective working capital management.

“Favorable foreign exchange effects also contributed to a solid performance. However, a weakening global economy started to impact our results in spring 2019 and our ebitda-margin slipped by nearly half a percentage point year-on-year prompting swift cost measures.”

Due to the unprecedented global market collapse triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Swissport said it expects an 80% drop in revenue for April and May 2020.

Despite starting 2020 with liquidity of over €300m and taking drastic measures to quickly reduce the cost base — including an investment stop and a variety of measures to reduce its payroll — Swissport said that it will require additional liquidity in early summer.

The company currently has 40,000 employees on furlough or other state-supported programmes such as short-time work. Swissport also said: “10,000 employees had to be made redundant, leaving under 15,000 of formerly 64,000 staff on active duty”.

“We are exploring all avenues to secure additional liquidity,” explained Born. “Federal aid is an important pillar. In parallel we are working on additional financing with our lenders and investors. We are confident that we will be able to raise the necessary liquidity on the capital market within the available time frame and that we will also meet the conditions set by the Swiss government to qualify for state support.”

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