Aviapartner Acquires Major Cargo-Handler

Brussels/Amsterdam, 7 March 2007 - Aviapartner and VCK Holding announce that Aviapartner is close to a takeover of VCK Holding’s shares in its cargo-handling subsidiary Aero Groundservices BV. Final agreement will be reached with the approval from the relevant authorities.

This acquisition is an important step both for Aviapartner and Aero Groundservices, which integrates its one-station activity into Aviapartner’s 38-station European network. It will allow both to benefit from strong commercial and operational network synergies.

As network deals are becoming increasingly important in the handling market, the integration within Aviapartner's network creates an ideal platform for Aero Groundservices to strengthen its position at Schiphol and to support its further development.

The acquisition also perfectly fits into Aviapartner’s strategy to focus on major cargo airports. The airport of Amsterdam-Schiphol is the third largest cargo hub in Europe and therefore it is an important strategic move for Aviapartner Cargo to gain an important position in this airport.

Furthermore, the airport of Amsterdam-Schiphol handles a large portion of cargo directed from and to Asian markets. These markets are expected to grow above market average in the next two decades. Aero Groundservices has traditionally been strong in the Asian full freighter carrier sector at Schiphol, where it has a strong, loyal and diversified customer base. The takeover of Aero Groundservices will hence allow Aviapartner to further develop its carrier base from growing economies throughout its network.

With this milestone deal, Amsterdam-Schiphol becomes the largest cargo station in Aviapartner’s network, with a volume of 412,000 tons of cargo, substantially strengthening Aviapartner’s overall position in its core business cargo-handling activity.

Aviapartner Cargo currently handles 980,000 tons of cargo on a yearly basis, corresponding to a turnover of 70 million €. With Aero Groundservices, the group tonnage will increase by 43 % to 1,392,000 and total cargo turnover will be 120 million €, i.e. an increase by 71%. 

Mr. Ron Lahman, CEO of VCK Holding says: “We have developed Aero Groundservices over the last few years to a very successful, healthy, and profitable company, with a particularly extensive and loyal customer portfolio and an important position in Schiphol. The sale of Aero Groundservices is a step which fits into the trends of the handling sector. Within the international Aviapartner network Aero Groundservices can keep and further develop its strong position at the airport of Amsterdam-Schiphol. This transaction is also in line with VCK Holding’s strategic objectives.”

Theo Dilissen, CEO of Aviapartner comments: “We are very happy about this acquisition, which represents a major strategic step for Aviapartner in general, but certainly for our cargo-handling activity. It strengthens our position on the cargo-handling market substantially, allowing us to have a presence now in 4 of the main cargo hubs in Europe, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Paris-CDG. It will also provide us with a good platform to tackle even more the Asian airfreight sector”.

Aero Groundservices is an important ground handling agent at Amsterdam-Schiphol, where it has been present since 1952. The company is a one-stop-shop, offering complete cargo-handling services in Amsterdam-Schiphol for full freighters. The services it provides include ramp handling, import and export handling. The company employs 500 staff.

Aviapartner provides passenger and ramp handling services in Amsterdam-Schiphol since 1999, currently employing 560 staff. It has also been operating a small cargo-handling activity since the end of 2004, which will be integrated in the cargo activities of Aero Groundservices. The adjacent passenger and cargo handling Amsterdam activities will provide precious station and network-wide synergies.

Note to editors

About VCK Holding

VCK Holding heads a group of Dutch companies with activities in logistics and travel. Its company VCK Logistics is a leading logistics services provider and offers a full range of high quality services, including stevedoring, warehousing, customs formalities and cruise terminal operations. The company also acts as an air and ocean forwarder and provides tailor-made trucking services throughout Europe. Furthermore VCK Logistics offers agency services for all types of vessels and represents liner agencies specialised in short sea transportation between Scandinavia, Finland, the UK and the Netherlands.

In travel, the group holds a strong position in the Dutch market for business and marine travel. With 6 offices in the Netherlands and as partner in an international network, its company VCK Travel provides a complete package of travel services to national and multinational companies and institutions. In the consumer travel market the group offers holiday packages to consumers through travel agencies and via the internet with brand names such as Evenements Reizen, Vaya.nl and D-Tours Vliegreizen.


About Aero Groundservices

Aero Groundservices is a complete one-stop-shop for cargo handling, offering full services for freighters. The main cargo handling activities can be separated into ramp handling, import handling and export handling. The ramp department performs loading and unloading of full freighters, transport of cargo of passenger aircraft and full freighters from and to the warehouse. The import department is focussed on a fast release of cargo, within the service level agreements of the customer. The export department handles all incoming cargo and performs the build-up and storage of cargo per individual client.

Aero Groundservices also owns a duty-free crew shop (“The Crew shop”) and a travel ticket office (“Holland Holding”).

The facilities of Aero Groundservices are located on the air side, which allows for fast handling of cargo from full freighters. The facilities are also located nearby the passenger terminals, for quick handling of cargo carried by passenger airplanes. The facilities are also close to the adjacent highways, which is very advantageous for forwarders and truckers.

Aero Groundservices has many of the major airlines in the cargo industry as client, among others (in alphabetical order) bmi, China Southern, Continental Airlines, El Al, Great Wall Airlines, Kalitta Air, Korean Air, LAN Cargo, MASkargo, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Olympic Airlines, Qatar Airways, SAS Cargo, Singapore Airlines Cargo, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines.

About Aviapartner

Aviapartner, whose origins date back to 1949, is the leading independent ground handler in Continental Europe, with headquarters in Brussels. Its main shareholder is 3i, a world leader in private equity and venture capital.

The Aviapartner group is articulated into 4 business units: cargo handling, ground handling, catering and technics. The company provides a wide range of services at 38 airports in 5 European countries: cargo and mail handling, ramp services, passenger and baggage handling, ticketing, aircraft servicing and maintenance, flight operations and crew administration, load control and communications, surface transport of passengers and crews, operation of airport lounges, catering services, security services and executive aviation services.

In 2006, it served 28 million passengers, provided ramp handling for some 226,000 aircraft and handled 980,000 tons of cargo. Aviapartner generated a turnover of 280.5 million € in 2006 and employs more than 5,260 staff.

Aviapartner’s portfolio includes (in alphabetical order): Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, bmi, British Airways, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific, Continental Airlines, CSA Czech Airlines, Delta Airlines, easyJet, El Al, Eva Air, Finnair, Hainan Airlines, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, Nippon Cargo Airlines, SAS, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, Thomas Cook.


For further information, please contact:

For Aviapartner:
Christine Karels, Communications Manager, Aviapartner Head Office
Tel.: + 32 (0) 2 723 03 84 – Fax: + 32 (0) 2 723 03 75 – Mobile: +32 (0)476 90 01 16
Email: christine.karels@aviapartner.aero
Heidestraat 32; B-1930 Zaventem (Belgium) - http://www.aviapartner.aero

For VCK Holding and Aero Groundservices:
Natasja A.J.P. Angevaare, Manager Corporate Communications & General Affairs
Tel.: +31 20 6032498 / MBL: +31 6 519 70 781
Fax: +31 20 6032441
E-mail: Natasja.Angevaare@Aeroground.nl