3i-backed company makes acquisition

3i-backed AviaPartner has bought cargo-handling company Aero Groundservices from Dutch shareholder VCK Holding. The deal is part of 3i’s growth strategy for the company that it bought in 2005.

AviaPartner, a European company that provides ground-handling services at airports and that is backed by 3i, has acquired Dutch cargo-handling business Aero Groundservices.


AviaPartner Cargo currently handles 980,000 tons of cargo each year, with sales of €70 million ($92.1 million). The acquisition of Amsterdam-based Aero Groundservices will increase the tonnage by 43 percent to 1,392,000 and sales by 71 percent to €120 million.


3i led the €160 million management buyout of AviaPartner in July 2005, and has since invested another 40 percent of that in the growth of the business. The acquisition of Aero Groundservices is thought to represent the majority of this 40 percent.


Since the management buyout, 3i has appointed Theo Dilissen as CEO, Peter Oostenenk as CFO and Nigel Daniel as COO Handling.


Headquartered in Brussels, AviaPartner generated sales of €280.5 million in 2006. It operates from 32 airports in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. London-listed private equity firm 3i is its biggest shareholder.