LBO France bags Vinci’s cargo business

LBO France, a French private equity firm, has acquired the airport ground and cargo handling business of Vinci, a construction group, for €315m.

LBO France, a French buyout firm, has bought Worldwide Flight Services, the global airport ground and cargo handling business of Vinci, a construction group, in a deal valuing the business at €315 million ($405 million).
The transaction is expected to close in October 2006. LBO France was advised by Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw. Vinci was advised by the Paris office of White & Case.
According to White & Case, the auction for Worldwide Flight Services attracted interest from both trade buyers and private equity firms.
LBO France is currently investing in mid-market buyouts from its sixth fund, White Knight VI, which raised €310 million in 2001. The firm also invests in small cap and real estate deals through separate vehicles.
Worldwide Flight Services is an international ground handling and cargo business with contacts at more than 100 airports including Paris, New York, Chicago and Hong Kong, servicing more than 300 airlines. In 2005, the company employed 11,000 people and reported sales of €505 million.
Last July, 3i, a global private equity firm, backed a €160 million management buyout of Aviapartner, a ground handling business based in Brussels, servicing 31 airports in five European countries. The following month, Candover sold Swissport, a Swiss aviation services group, to Ferrovial, a Spanish construction group, for CHF1 billion (€635 million). Swissport provides cargo and baggage handling services at more than 170 airports in 40 countries.