PARIS/LOS ANGELES: Private equity firm LBO France has agreed to sell its ownership of ground handling company Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) to Platinum Equity – a specialist merger, acquisition and operation (M&A&O) company - for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to be complete by the end of June and is subject to regulatory approvals.

In 2006, WFS was acquired by LBO France from leading French construction company Vinci. Since then it has become a leading provider of ground handling and technical services at 140 airports in 22 countries. Last year it handled four million tons of cargo and 50 million passengers on behalf of 300 airlines. Recently WFS acquired a controlling stake in Orbital Group, a leading Brazilian provider of ramp, passenger and airport security services.

Platinum-Equity-HQ-HighResPlatinum Equity (right) has investments in transportation, logistics and distribution services including Active Aero Group, a North American provider of supply-chain solutions for customers with sensitive or time-critical freight; and Neovia Logistics, a provider of spare parts logistics, warehouse management and fulfillment services, distribution solutions and other value-added services.

Jérôme Guez, a partner with LBO France, commented: "We are delighted to have participated in the growth of WFS alongside its management and teams, and particularly to have partnered with them in the pursuit of its international expansion in the Middle-East, Africa, Asia and South America. Their work and commitment was instrumental in recent successes despite a challenging environment. We believe that WFS is now optimally positioned to capitalize on future growth opportunities while preserving a profitable business model. We have full confidence that Platinum Equity is the ideal partner to successfully pursue this work."

Olivier Bijaoui, executive chairman, president and CEO of WFS added: "We view our future collaboration with Platinum Equity as a unique opportunity to grow our business and explore new opportunities, leveraging on our solid foundations and second-to-none experience. Their financial strength and M&A expertise will be of great support in our acquisition strategy and help the management to write a new and successful page of WFS history."

Founded in 1995 by Tom Gores, Platinum Equity has US$6 billion of assets under management and a portfolio of over 30 operating companies that generated more than US$17 billion in revenue last year.