As mentioned in our recent exclusive article on the WFS takeover of Fraport Cargo Services, the handling carousel indeed keeps on turning and even starts to pick up speed.
The news is out that the giant airport handler, Swissport is in the final stages of finalizing a takeover bid by the massive Chinese HNA Group which has its main headquarters in Haikou and which employs more than 36,000 staff in China alone.
HNA Group of companies consists of enterprises listed under Aviation, Holdings, Capital, Tourism and Logistics.
It goes without saying that if the Swissport deal comes off, then the Swiss handler will fall into the hands of HNA Aviation.
The HNA Group which was first founded in 1993 has quickly become a major player in Chinese commerce circles after the reform and opening up of business opportunities in this vast region.
HNA Aviation has a fleet of over 520 aircraft and is said to serve 640 domestic and international routes covering 250 cities.
The airlines in its portfolio consist of carriers such as Yangtze River Express, Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines and Lucky Air.
The aviation sector also manages ten airports within China, among them Haikou International and Sanya Phoenix International.
Hainan Airlines is said to be the fourth largest carrier in China.
The news on the discussions between the Swiss and Chinese companies was confirmed by Bloomberg who apparently have insider information on how the talks have so far gone progressed.
PAI Partners SAS, the present owner of Swissport is said to be negotiating for a sale price of around 3 billion US dollars (2.7 billion euros).
The deal could just as well fall through as it seems that the price demanded by PAI has so far fallen on deaf ears in China.
It is no secret that the present Swissport owners were looking to sell off the successful worldwide handling company.
It is also said that there are other interested parties bidding for Swissport and even that PAI is looking at floating the company on the stock market.
Swissport employs more than 60,000 staff, is active in 498 countries and generated almost 3 billion euros in revenues in 2014.
An attractive buy.
One way or another, there is again movement on the carousel.
John Mc Donagh