Swiss travel retailer Dufry to acquire Italy’s Autogrill

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July 11 (Reuters) – Duty-free retailer Dufry  said on Monday it would acquire Italian airport and motorway caterer Autogrill , expanding the Swiss company’s growth opportunities in international markets as travel rebounds.

Italy’s Benetton family – the largest investor in Autogrill through its Edizione holding company – will transfer its entire 50.3% stake to Dufry at an exchange ratio of 0.158 new Dufry shares for each Autogrill share, according to Dufry.

Edizione will become Dufry’s largest shareholder with a stake of between about 25% and 20%.

After the transfer, Dufry will launch a tender offer for the remaining Autogrill shares, wherein shareholders would receive 0.158 new Dufry shares for each Autogrill share. Alternatively, Autogrill shareholders will receive a cash component of 6.33 euros ($6.43) per Autogrill share.

Xavier Rossinyol will lead the combined Group as chief executive officer, Dufry said, adding that Autogrill’s current CEO Gianmario Tondato da Ruos will assume the position of executive chairman of the North American business of the combined entity.

The companies had confirmed they were in non-exclusive talks in late June. 

Basel-based Dufry operates around 2,200 shops at airports, cruise liners, seaports and other tourist locations worldwide.

Dufry’s organic sales more than doubled in the first quarter of 2022, driven by a strong rebound in European travel as coronavirus curbs were eased. However, organic sales were still 40% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019. 

Autogrill runs bars, cafes and restaurants at 139 airports internationally, including 80 in North America, as well as on motorways in Europe.

Dufry said the combined company will cater to 2.3 billion passengers in more than 75 countries, generating revenue of 13.6 billion Swiss francs ($13.90 billion) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 1.4 billion Swiss francs.

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