Platinum Equity completes WFS takeover

Investment fund Platinum Equity has completed the acquisition of global airport cargo handler Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) from LBO France. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Platinum’s takeover of WFS – first disclosed in April this year – adds to its aviation portfolio a company present at over 145 major airports in more than 22 countries on five continents.
WFS serves 300 airlines globally, including the handling of four million tonnes of cargo and 50m airline passengers per annum.
Bastian Lueken, head of Platinum Equity’s European investment team, said: “We are excited about the prospects for WFS and are working with the management team to execute on the company’s long-term growth strategy.”
Olivier Bijaoui, executive chairman, president and chief executive of WFS, said: “This is a proud day for WFS and the best possible news for our customers and employees all over the world.
“It is the start of a new and exciting chapter in our long history and with Platinum Equity’s operational support and financial strength we can now build on the growth we have achieved in recent years.
“Our collaboration will enable WFS to provide even more possibilities for our customers and to explore new avenues of growth.”
In April, Bijaoui stated: “After eight years we now have more resources to make acquisitions. 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. We are the largest cargo handling company in the world, we intend to grow. Some 65% of our business is cargo handling, but we will also grow in other areas, such as in interline baggage and premium lounges, as well as ground handling.”
In June, WFS built on its cargo handling experience in Spain to win full ground handling contracts at the country’s Madrid, Seville, Santiago, Oviedo and Vitoria airports
July saw it acquire a majority 51% stake in Fraport Cargo Services (FCS)  as part of a strategic partnership with Fraport.
This was followed in early August when WFS signed a lease for a “significant” new facility at the Heathrow Cargo Centre (HCC).
Platinum Equity is a global private equity firm currently investing from a $3.75bn buyout fund focused on acquiring businesses “that can benefit from the firm’s operational expertise”.
The firm has substantial experience in transportation, logistics and distribution services, including aviation.
Its investments include Active Aero Group, a North American provider of supply-chain solutions focused on transportation logistics for customers with sensitive or time-critical freight, and Neovia Logistics, a provider of spare parts logistics, warehouse management and fulfilment services, distribution solutions and other value-added logistics services.
In the October 5 of Air Cargo News: Handling tremors raise opportunities and service questions. An analysis of the ground handling sector is available only by registering for a free digital edition here…

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