Candover sells Swissport for CHF1bn

Candover has sold Swissport International, a leading aviation service group, to Ferrovial, one of the world’s largest infrastructure and services companies, for an enterprise value of CHF1.0bn (E646m). The sale generates a return of 2.6 times the original cost for Candover.

Candover led the E393m buyout of Swissport from the former SAirGroup in February 2002, backing the management team led by Joseph In Albon, president and CEO, in the wake of the events of 9/11 and the administration of Swiss Air. Since then, Swissport has made a number of significant acquisitions, including CSC, the world’s largest independent cargo handler, and Groundstar, a UK handler of low cost airlines.

Swissport is now active at more than 170 airports in 40 countries, handling more than 70 million passengers annually and 3.2 million tonnes of cargo for 650 customers. The company employs 21,000 employees and generated turnover of CHF1.3bn in 2004.

Commenting on the sale, Charlie Green, director of Candover, said: “Swissport has been an excellent investment for the Candover 2001 Fund. 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%.”

The lead advisers on the sale process were Barons Financial Services, Alpha Corporate and Rothschild.

The sale of Swissport and the recent partial realisation of Gala, will result in an increase of 77 pence per share (unaudited) in the net asset value of Candover Investments plc as at 30th June, 2005.