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Dubai’s Dnata buys flight caterer

Autogrill sells Alpha Flight to Dubai's Dnata for 100 mln pounds.


October 9, 2010 2:14 by

Autogrill SpA, the world’s top airport retailer, agreed to sell flight caterer Alpha Flight Group to Dubai’s Dnata for 100 million pounds ($158.8 million) to focus on its core businesses, it said on Friday.

The Italian company, which operates highway restaurants and airport shops from Canada to India, has long considered exiting the 18 billion euro ($25 billion) flight catering and retail market.

The sale to Dnata, a Dubai airport services company, will close by Dec. 31, Autogrill said in a statement. The deal is subject to approval by regulators and financing banks.

“Autogrill is now concentrated on the two sectors in which it is the world leader, food & beverage and travel retail,” Chief Executive Gianmario Tondato Da Ruas said in a statement.

Autogrill bought Britain-based Alpha Airports Group, parent of Alpha Flight, in 2007, since when its enterprise value has doubled.

A source close to the operation said Autogrill would book a capital gain of 20 million pounds on the disposal.

Because of the sale, Autogrill cut its forecast for 2010 revenue to 5.6 billion euros from 6.03 billion. The outlook is in line with a forecast of a 2 percent increase in comparable activities.

Autogrill had revenue of 5.73 billion euros in 2009. Without Alpha Flight this would have been 5.33 billion.

Autogrill said the sale would reduce net debt by around 162 million euros. The company had a net financial position of 1.95 billion at the end of June.

Autogrill shares closed up 0.3 percent at 9.20 euros before the sale was announced, in line with Milan’s all-share index.

(By Antonella Ciancio. Additional reporting by Sabina Suzzi; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.7196 Euro) ($1=.6296 Pound)


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