Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) is to acquire a 51 per cent shareholding in Fraport Cargo Services (FCS) as part of a strategic partnership with Fraport AG. The investment is part of WFS’ strategy to continue to expand in Europe’s major cargo markets.
Fraport is to retain a 49 per cent share in FCS and will continue to take a substantial role in the management of the company. Terms of the transaction, which WFS and Fraport plan to close by September 2015, have not been disclosed.
The joint goal of this partnership is to expand FCS’ global reach in the rapidly moving and highly competitive air cargo industry to achieve sustainable success, as well as strengthening Frankfurt Airport’s role as a major air cargo hub.
For over 40 years, Fraport Cargo Services has been the largest provider of independent cargo handling services at Frankfurt Airport, Europe’s joint largest cargo airport alongside Paris CDG. In 2014, cargo and mail traffic through Frankfurt rose 1.8 per cent to some 2.1 million tonnes. FCS employs more than 600 cargo handling professionals at its modern freight centres in the airport’s CargoCity South and provides services to most of the world’s leading air carriers.
Olivier Bijaoui, executive chairman, president & CEO of WFS, said: “This is a major transaction that positions WFS and FCS as the leading cargo handler at one of the biggest cargo airports in the world. As Europe’s largest economy, Germany is obviously a prime focus in our growth plans. We could not ask for a stronger partner than Fraport, with whom we share a passion for quality and performance and likewise who have demonstrated a commitment to the cargo handling industry over more than 40 years.”
Fraport AG executive board chairman Stefan Schulte said: “As in the past, the cargo business continues to be vitally important for our business model. To continue developing our cargo handling business successfully, it has been our wish to find a strong and competent partner that offers a strong international network. Thus, we are pleased today to announce this new strategic partnership with such a renowned international partner like WFS, to gain an even broader globally-linked base for successfully developing FCS further in the future.”
Founded in 1971, WFS is the world’s largest cargo handler and a leading global provider of ground handling and technical services with annual revenues of €700 million. It employs 14,000 staff and is present at over 145 major airports in more than 22 countries on five continents, serving 50 million passengers and handling over four million tonnes of cargo per annum for 300 airline customers.
In May, WFS announced plans to accelerate its growth by exploring more business opportunities and implementing its acquisition strategy. And, in June, WFS confirmed the biggest expansion of its ground handling activities in Europe in over 40 years after being awarded full ground handling licenses to operate at Spain’s Madrid, Seville, Santiago, Oviedo and Vitoria airports.