SEEKING INVESTORS: World Duty Free, the airport mega-retailer controlled by the Benetton family’s parent holding company Edizione srl, is said to be looking for new investment partners, and considering merging with another international chain.
According to a published report in Italy’s daily Corriere della Sera, Edizione is willing to dip below its current 50.1 percent stake in World Duty Free – thereby relinquishing majority control – if the move ultimately leads to greater international growth of the business.
World Duty Free split from Autogrill, also in the Edizione portfolio, in June 2013, and was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange in Oct. of that year. The Corriere della Sera report suggested that Seoul-based Lotte – a big name in the duty free sector in Asia – and Shilla, a Korean five-star hotel chain run by Samsung, are among the interested parties. Others are said to be the French Lagardère group and Swiss Dufry.
If plans move forward, World Duty Free might shift from the Milan Bourse to the stock exchange of its new majority shareholder.
World Duty Free share prices were up 3.06 percent Monday evening and the current price is 7.57 euros per share, or about $9.4 at current exchange.