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.

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.

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