Bloomberg: Cerberus considers Swissport deal following WFS takeover

17 / 08 / 2018

Reports from news wire Bloomberg suggest that investment fund Cerberus is considering a move for ground handler Swissport following on from its takeover of WFS in June.

The report, which can be found here, said that the current owner, Chinese conglomerate HNA, is considering selling a majority stake in the handler, valued at around $3bn.

Others are also thought to be interested in Swissport, including Singapore state investment firm Temasek.

Cerberus and HNA have both declined to comment on the rumours.

The move to sell some of its Swissport investment would not come as too much of a surprise as troubled HNA is currently in the process of selling assets as it looks to offload debt.

From Cerberus' perspective, the takeover of Swissport would complement its recent €1.2bn takeover of WFS, which has a presence in 198 airport locations in 22 countries and serves over 300 customers.

Swissport, meanwhile, is active at more than 315 stations in 50 countries across five continents. It handles more than 4m tonnes of cargo each year.

Earlier this year, Swissport deferred plans to launch an IPO on SIX Swiss Exchange. In a short investor announcement, the ground handler said that it had decided to delay the listing of its shares as a result of current market conditions.

The Financial Times had previously suggested that the HNA Group may struggle to push ahead with its listing of Swissport because the two companies' finances are too intertwined as a result of a series of short-term loans made by the ground handler to other HNA subsidiaries.

However, in May, Swissport received a $100m (€83m) repayment on the ground handler's affiliate loan to its parent company and agreed to a "temporary remedies standstill period" of five months in collecting the balance.

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