UK private equity firm Candover has sold Swiss aviation services group Swissport to trade buyer Ferrovial in a transaction valued at CHF1bn (€644m; $784m).
Candover led a €393 million buyout of Swissport from the former SairGroup in February 2002, backing a management team led by Joseph In Albon, president and CEO.
Following 9/11 and the administration of Swiss Air, Swissport has made a number of acquisitions, including cargo handler CSC and Groundstar, a UK handler of low cost airlines.
The deal, expected to be completed in September 2005, along with the recent partial realisation of UK bingo hall operator Gala, will result in an increase of 77 pence per share in the NAV of Candover Investments as at 30th June 2005.
Following completion of the Swissport sale and last week’s partial realisation of Gala, the Candover 2001 Fund, which is currently 82% drawn down, will have realised over €1.2 billion, 57% of the amounts drawn down.
“Swissport has been an excellent investment for the Candover 2001 Fund, generating a return of 2.6 times the original cost,” said Charlie Green, director, Candover. “Under our ownership, the company has played a leading role in the consolidation of the global aviation services industry and has grown sales by 25 percent.”
According to Green, the Swissport sale was an “informal auction process”, with approaches by a limited number of parties. “Swissport had reached that stage where it had expanded its product and service range and was ready for new challenges, so we felt it was time to hand over the baton,” added Green in an interview with PEO.
Candover has realised almost €2.3 billion from a number of full and partial exits and several refinancings. Other realisations from the Candover 2001 Fund include the IPO of Aspen, the partial realisation of Gala, and the recapitalisations of Springer, Vetco and KDG.
Candover held a €2.3 billion first close on its Candover 2005 Fund last week, with the firm expecting a final close in October.