WFS targets majority stake in Fraport Cargo Services

The world’s largest cargo handler Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has started its latest expansion phase with the planned acquisition of a majority stake in Fraport Cargo Services (FCS).
The deal will see WFS acquire a 51% shareholding in FCS as part of a strategic partnership with Fraport. Terms of the transaction, which WFS and Fraport plan to close by September 2015, have not been disclosed.
WFS said the investment was part of its strategy to continue to expand in Europe’s major cargo markets. It has been examining expansion opportunities since it was acquired by private equity firm Platinum Equity in April.
Fraport is to retain a 49% share in FCS and will continue to take a substantial role in the management of the company.
WFS executive chairman, president & chief executive Olivier Bijaoui said: “This is a major transaction that positions WFS and FCS as the leading cargo handler at one of the biggest cargo airports in the world.
“As Europe’s largest economy, Germany is obviously a prime focus in our growth plans. We could not ask for a stronger partner than Fraport, with whom we share a passion for quality and performance and likewise who have demonstrated a commitment to the cargo handling industry over more than 40 years.”
Fraport executive board chairman Stefan Schulte said: “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.
“Thus, we are pleased today to announce this new strategic partnership with such a renowned international partner like WFS, to gain an even broader globally-linked base for successfully developing FCS further in the future.”
In May, Bijaoui revealed it had “a shopping list of acquisitions” following its acquisition.
“After eight years we now have more resources to make acquisitions,” he said at the time.
“During the second semester of this year you are going to be hearing from us about a number of acquisitions.
“The name of the game was to get a new owner and to start writing a new equity story for WFS."
He added: “I know what I want to buy, but I do not know if they want to sell, but I will try. Certainly we have a lot of targets.”
WFS has annual revenues of €700m, employs 14,000 staff, is present at over 145 airports and handled more than four million tonnes of cargo last year.
Fraport Cargo Services is the largest provider of independent cargo handling services at Frankfurt Airport, Europe’s joint largest cargo airport alongside Paris CDG, and in 2014 cargo and mail traffic through Frankfurt rose 1.8% to some 2.1m tonnes.

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