Swissport expands German operations and strengthens its leading role with new global business activities

Zürich, June 28th, 2002 – Swissport has acquired various passenger and cargo handling activities in Germany from the Menzies Aviation Group, further consolidating its already-strong position in the German ground services market. Swissport is also about to extend into other important airport business services, to offer those increasingly important services on a global scale.

With its change of ownership last February from the SAirGroup to the UK-based private equity house, Candover, Swissport can now resume the course of expansion which has proved so successful in the past, to remain a world leader in the increasingly consolidating ground handling market. In doing so, the company intends to provide a complete package of airport ground handling services for its 550-plus airline customers around the world. And it aims to achieve this objective by increasing its investments in new business segments that complement its existing ground handling activities.

Substantial expansion in the German market

Growth and a comprehensive network of operating locations are two key factors in any company’s success in the rapidly consolidating ground handling market. And it is with this in mind that Swissport has acquired Menzies’ handling business in Germany with retroactive effect to April 1, 2002.

The new arrangement will raise Swissport’s presence in Germany to 11 airport locations. In assuming responsibility for cargo handling operations in Hamburg and Hanover, Swissport is also entering the German cargo market.

"Our customers are sure to benefit from this amalgamation and the synergies it should provide," says Thomas Neff, Managing Director of Swissport Germany. "With a thousand staff at eleven stations, we will be able to offer an even broader and more attractive range of ground handling services."

Further diversification planned

In its ongoing endeavours to offer customer airlines as seamless and comprehensive a product range as possible, Swissport is also considering further collaborations with various sector partners. These include possible involvements in the cargo handling, logistics, executive aircraft handling and aircraft fuelling fields.

"Partnerships and equity investments of this kind can help us make sizeable progress in implementing our strategy of offering our customers as complete a range of ground handling services as possible," explains Joseph In Albon, President & CEO of Swissport International. On the cargo front, the company is delighted to have secured the services of Ludwig Bertsch, CEO of Swisscargo until May 2001, who oversaw Swisscargo’s profitable expansion and is an acknowledged specialist in the airfreight field.

Furthermore, Swissport has the pleasure to announce that Urs Sieber, former Director of the EuroAirport in Basel, will join the company by September 1st, 2002 to take over the responsibility of the Markets Asia/Africa/Middle East as Executive Vice President and Division Head. His main task will be to strengthen the presence of Swissport in those important areas as well as to stimulate and accelerate the ongoing business developments.

At the same time Swissport International is especially pleased to announce the official appointment of a Chairman of the Board in the person of Dr. Thomas Staehelin, a reputed business lawyer and active member on various Board of Directors, based in Basel. This important step will secure not only a strong link to the Swiss community but also a broad strategic view for global matters.

Quality still paramount

Despite all its expansion plans, however, Swissport still attaches top priority to maintaining and further sharpening its quality edge. It is a strategy that has been recognised by the industry: for the second year running, Swissport was recently named Best Global Ground Handling Company of the Year by the London-based Institute of Transport Management. This prestigious award offers further confirmation that, despite the business headwinds that are currently being felt throughout the world airline industry, Swissport continues to stand out from its competitors in terms of the quality of its products and services and the added value it provides.

Swissport International Ltd. (which is majority-owned by London-based Candover Partners Ltd., a leading European buyout specialist) is active at 130 airports around the world and handles over 55 million passengers a year along with 1.4 million aircraft for more than 550 customer airlines. With a workforce of over 15 000 personnel in 22 countries on four continents, the company generated consolidated revenue of some CHF 1.1 billion last year.