Disposal of WFS by LBO France
Sycomore Corporate Finance acted as financial advisor to LBO France
LBO France acquired WFS in 2006 from French construction leader Vinci. Over the 2006-2015 period, WFS has pursued its development in fast-growing geographies such as the Middle-East, Asia and Africa and in complementary businesses (e.g. VIP services, management of cruise terminals, including in Hong Kong). The Group made a strategic move in Brazil through the acquisition of a controlling stake in Orbital Group, a leading Brazilian provider of ramp, passenger and airport security services.
The transaction enables WFS to further expand its business in the market and explore new opportunities.
Platinum Equity is working with WFS and its leadership team on a plan to ensure a smooth transition once the transaction closes, while developing initiatives to support the company’s long-term growth strategy.
WFS is the world’s largest cargo handler and a leading global provider of ground handling and technical services. Today it is present at over 140 major airports in more than 22 countries on five continents. WFS serves 300 airlines globally, including the handling of four million tons of cargo and 50 million airline passengers per annum. The company has grown from a family business to a global leader in its fields and now employs 12,000 staff worldwide.
LBO France, an independent private equity firm with €3.6bn under management as of December 2016, runs four non-listed strategies through dedicated teams: (i) Mid Cap LBO White Knight funds, (ii) Small Cap LBO Hexagone funds, (iii) Real estate White Stone and Lapillus funds and (iv) Credit opportunities Altercap funds. LBO France is 100% owned by its management in place since 1998 and boasts a team of over 49 professionals.
With the White Knight funds, LBO France invests in French champions, either already present or with strong potential for development abroad. LBO France accompanies them, providing skills and financial means to foster growth, be it organically, through build-ups or operational optimisation. More than 50% of White Knight’s portfolio companies turnover is thus generated outside France. White Knight focuses on companies whose enterprise value is between €100m and €2.5bn. Since 1998, over 27 acquisitions have been carried out over six generations of funds.
Platinum Equity is a global private equity firm currently investing from a $3.75bn buyout fund focused on acquiring businesses that can benefit from the firm’s operational expertise. The firm has substantial experience in transportation, logistics and distribution services, including aviation. Platinum Equity portfolio companies include: Active Aero Group, a North American provider of supply-chain solutions focused on transportation logistics for customers with sensitive or time-critical freight and Neovia Logistics, a provider of spare parts logistics, warehouse management and fulfillment services, distribution solutions and other value-added logistics services.