PARIS — Dufry AG, the world’s largest duty-free operator, has agreed to acquire Autogrill SpA, the motorway and airport catering company, from the Benetton family.
According to Dufry, in a statement released Monday, the Benetton family holding company Edizione Srl will transfer its 50.3 percent share in Autogrill to Dufry, with an exchange ratio that’s set at 0.158 new Dufry shares for every Autogrill share. Following the transfer, Edizione will hold a 20 percent to 25 percent stake in Dufry.
Dufry will then initiate a mandatory tender offer for the outstanding shares. It is to offer 0.158 new Dufry shares for every Autogrill share to shareholders, or a cash alternative that is equal to 6.33 euros per Autogrill share.
The merged group will have sales of 13.6 billion Swiss francs, or $13.86 billion, and earnings before interests, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 1.4 billion Swiss francs, Dufry said.
The combined entity will address 2.3 billon passengers in more than 75 countries in around 5,500 outlets across 1,200 airports and other locations.
Duty-free operators were the hardest-hit retailers during the coronavirus pandemic, as travel ground to a halt.
“As a leader of travel retail, Dufry has strived to be at the forefront of services and products offered to travelers, airports and brands for years. Now, Dufry pledges to define the travel experience in a manner that creates value for all stakeholders,” Juan Carlos Torres, executive chairman of Dufry, said in the statement. “The combination of the two groups will create a new leader in travel retail and allow us to significantly increase our presence in core markets, such as the U.S., and in the sector of travel [food and beverage]. In addition, this transaction will strengthen our balance sheet, reduce our leverage and create meaningful synergies.”
“This agreement allows the continuation of Autogrill’s growth and development path, an asset that will remain strategic for Edizione,” said Alessandro Benetton, chairman of Edizione. “The union between Autogrill and Dufry will allow the creation of the world champion in the sector, with a leadership position in different geographies and on different services, also favored by important synergies within the new group.”
Dufry stock closed Monday up 3.8 percent to 32.42 Swiss francs. While Autogrill shares ended the day down 7.4 percent to 6.34 euros.
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