The new travel retail and foodservice group will comprise around 5,500 outlets around the world, serving more than 2.3 billion passengers in 75 countries with combined revenues of $13.8bn
Autogrill’s majority stakeholder, Italy-based Edizione, will transfer its 50.3% stake in the company to Switzerland-based Dufry | Photo credit: Dufry
Dufry and Autogrill are to create a new travel retail and foodservice giant after announcing the companies will merge. The new group is expected to comprise around 5,500 outlets around the world, serving more than 2.3 billion passengers in 75 countries and generating revenues of CHF 13.6bn ($13.8bn).
The terms of the deal will see Autogrill’s majority stakeholder, Italy-based Edizione, transfer its 50.3% stake in the company to Switzerland-based Dufry. Edizione will remain a ‘major shareholder’ in the group when the deal is completed, with Dufry CEO Xavier Rossinyol leading the new entity.
In a press release, Dufry said the merger formed part of its long-term strategy to grow its presence in the US, where the combined group will be present at more than 100 airports, including 20 of its largest.
Operational efficiencies will also create new opportunities in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, the company added, with the combined business to focus on increasing customer digital engagement, generating operational efficiencies and forging synergies between landlords.
“We are transforming our industry and redefining its boundaries, and we will create a new corporate identity to reflect this fundamental move. By executing on this unique opportunity, we will accelerate growth by fully focusing on consumers and the digital revolution, by offering additional value to landlords and airport partners with an expanded service portfolio, while further diversifying the Group and increasing our resilience,” said Xavier Rossinyol, CEO, Dufry.
Founded in Basel, Switzerland, in 1865, Dufry operates more than 430,000sq m of retail space across 2,300 outlets at airports around the world. It controls prominent travel retail brands, including World Duty Free and Hellenic Duty Free Shops and posted revenues of CHF 1.7bn ($1.7bn) in 2021.
The deal will give Dufry access to Autogrill’s extensive food & beverage portfolio, which comprises 4,000 points of sale across 30 countries, including prominent branded coffee chains Starbucks, Leon, Lavazza Espression, Motta, Tentazioni Cafè, Caffè Kimbo, Café Chocolat and Acafé. In 2019 Autogrill posted revenues of €5bn ($6.1bn), around 60% of which came from its airports business.
The deal marks a turnaround for the airport retailers, which saw trade decimated during the pandemic as flights were grounded and borders closed. Further indicating the recovery of leisure travel around the world, in May 2022 UK-based concession operator SSP Group reported its half-year revenues had surged nearly 220% year-on-year, with European and US footfall returning to 80% of pre-pandemic levels.