Data processors and communication service provider Société Internationale de Télécommunication Aéronautique (SITA) becomes sole owner of IT manager CHAMP Cargosystems S.A. The Geneva, Switzerland-based firm has acquired 49% of the CHAMP shares held by Cargolux since 2005, making it the sole owner. The transaction comes as no surprise after Cargolux chose Indian IBS Software as its future partner, a fierce competitor to CHAMP.
Asked about the status of this transaction, Sandro Hofer of SITA's communications team confirmed that his company has acquired the 49% stake in CHAMP Cargosystems it did not already own from joint venture partner Cargolux Airlines. "The transaction was concluded on 21 December 2021 with CHAMP becoming a wholly-owned SITA subsidiary," Mr. Hofer confirmed to CargoForwarder Global. He added to this that "Chris McDermott will remain as CEO."
Sweet words vs cruel reality
The now concluded deal has a longer history, since Cargolux's dissatisfaction with CHAMP has been going on for some time. Strangely enough, the freight carrier’s top deck has repeatedly denied any problems with its IT manager, done so, for instance, by CEO Richard Forson in DEC2018: "There is no break in our relationship with CHAMP. Full stop!" Sweet words! However, simultaneously he announced that CV will take in-house all non-air cargo applications provided by CHAMP, such as aircraft maintenance planning, flight scheduling or crew and fleet deployment.
This in-housing of services is comparable to an application for divorce, which is formally executed at a later phase. So it can be assumed that since early 2019, plans were already being drawn up, away from microphones and notepads, to pull out of CHAMP and sell the shares owned by Cargolux.
IBS takes over
This became evident on 13DEC21 with CV announcing that it had chosen IBS Software’s iCargo solution as its next generation Cargo Management System. Both partners signed a strategic long-term deal enabling Cargolux to deploy IBS Software solution to transform and manage its global air cargo business. “Its implementation will enable Cargolux to further deliver and improve services and streamline customer experience. iCargo’s air cargo ecosystem will allow the airline to realize improved efficiencies through lean business processes. With APIs providing enhanced rich data sharing, Cargolux will facilitate improved co-ordination with partners and deliver a superior experience to customer,” stated the carrier in a release.
For CHAMP and Cargolux it simply meant: game over!
It is not yet known what price SITA paid to Cargolux for the purchase of CHAMP's 49% stake. From antitrust authorities no objections are expected, as SITA is since long a 51-percent majority shareholder in CHAMP. It also remains to be seen whether the deal will have any personnel consequences at CHAMP. In the recent past, current as well as former senior managers have repeatedly leaked internal information to the media, sometimes with severe criticism of CHAMP's management style, strategy and lack of innovations. After checking the truth of these claims, CargoForwarder Global has reported on this several times.
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