The consortium of US and British private equity firms and banks will buy out the majority stake currently held by Chinese conglomerate HNA. The bailout will comprise a €300 million short-term cash injection to meet immediate financing needs followed by a €500 million package.
The deal will wipe €1.9 billion of debt from the company’s books. With air travel coming to a virtual standstill, Swissport saw sales fall by 70% between March and the end of June. The company, which handles cargo and offers passenger ground support services at airports, recorded a €67 million operating loss in the same period.
HNA bought Swissport for CHF2.7 billion in 2015, but the Chinese group has been forced to get out of some investments since before the pandemic struck, including Zurich headquartered airline caterer Gategroup. HNA is also thought to be looking for a buyer for its Zurich-based aircraft maintenance company SR Technics.
The pandemic has forced Swissport, which is active at 300 airports in 47 countries, to shed 17,000 of its 64,000 global staff.
The deal to buyout HNA is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
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