The global travel concession operator has highlighted Australia as a strategically important market for its Asia Pacific business
The acquisition will see SSP Group enter four new Australian airports, including Canberra and Gold Coast | Photo credit: SSP Group
SSP Group has agreed to fully acquire Australia’s Airport Retail Enterprises Pty Ltd (ARE) for an undisclosed sum.
Founded in 1971, ARE currently operates more than 60 in-house and franchised cafés, restaurants and bars across seven Australian airports, including Quikshots, Merlo Caffe and Toby’s Estate outlets. The Queensland food and beverage operator generates annual sales of approximately AU$200m ($130m).
UK-based SSP Group has traded in Australia since 2007 and currently operates 40 units across seven airports and Sydney’s Central Railway Station.
The acquisition will see SSP Group enter four new Australian airports – Canberra, Gold Coast, Townsville and Mount Isa – and have a presence in 11 of the largest 19 airports in the country. The deal is expected to close by the end of June 2024.
According to SSP Group, annual international and domestic passenger numbers are expected to grow by approximately 10% and 4% respectively.
In addition to growing its store count in the ‘strategically important and fast-growing’ Australian market, the deal aligns with SSP Group’s strategy of accelerating growth in the Asia Pacific region, CEO Patrick Coveney said.
“The acquisition will increase our portfolio of brands and concepts, give us entry into new prime air locations, enhance our position as a leading airport F&B operator in the country and create significant value for shareholders. The Asia Pacific region offers a significant opportunity to build returns and drive growth for the Group. Our enlarged business in Australia will have the opportunity to become a regional centre of excellence,” Coveney added.
SSP Group currently operates 2,900 food and beverage travel hub outlets across 37 markets globally.
The travel concession operator posted annual sales of £3bn ($3.8bn) in the 12 months ended 30 September 2023, a 38% increase on the previous year. The group’s first quarter revenues grew 17.7% to £788m ($999m).