HAIKOU/ZURICH: April 11, 2016. The HNA Group has made a CHF1.4 billion cash offer to buy Gategroup, the airline-related food logistics, provisioning and 4PL company. This follows HNA’s purchase last year of ground handler Swissport International for CHF2.7 billion. Both companies were part of Swissair when it went bankrupt in 2001.
HNA’s aviation-related portfolio already includes Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Deer Jet, Lucky Air, Capital Airlines, West Air, Fuzhou Airlines, Urumqi Air, Beibu Gulf Airlines, Yangtze River Airlines, Guilin Airlines, My CARGO, Africa World Airlines, and Aigle Azur.
The Gategroup Board has expressed unanimous support for the acquisition as chairman Andreas Schmid explained: "The offer reflects the fair and adequate value and quality built by gategroup. It makes strategic sense that our company will become part of HNA, one of the leading providers of airport and aviation services worldwide. HNA has extensive expertise in the aviation industry, and its strong footprint in Asia will help gategroup to expand significantly in this fast growing region, where gategroup has strategic headroom."
Gategroup reported a loss of CHF63.4 million on revenue of CHF2.99 billion last year – compared to a profit of CHF38.9 million on revenue of CHF3.0 billion in 2014.
Commenting on the HNA offer Gategroup CEO Xavier Rossinyol added: “Beyond our shareholders, this transaction is a great next step for all gategroup employees. A strong shareholder will give stability and continuity to the group’s new strategy. Also for our customers, partners and suppliers, the strength of HNA in the key areas of the industry and especially in Asia will help gategroup to further strengthen our global network, while keeping the highest industry standards. We will remain independently managed and headquartered in Switzerland.”
Useful factoids from the company’s latest annual report include: 135 million grapes served in the U.S. last year, almost the weight of 500 hippos; 3.5 million cups of coffee consumed on easyjet, equal to the population of Berlin; and 1.1 million tons of UK fat waste recycled into electricity.