European Union approves HNA Group’s Swissport acquisition

The European Commission has given the go-ahead for Hainan Airlines’ parent HNA Group to acquire 100% of European ground handling company Swissport.

Over the summer, HNA Group signed an agreement to acquire Swissport from private equity firm PAI Partners for approximately CHF2.7 billion. This deal has now been cleared.

“The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because the companies’ activities do not overlap,” the European regulator said in a statement.

Swissport is the world’s largest ground and cargo handler, processing 224 million passengers and approximately 4.1 million tonnes of cargo per year, generating a CHF3 billion turnover. It will remain a stand-alone business following the acquisition.

HNA Group, which owns 10 listed holdings companies and more than 30 companies overseas, said it is acquiring Swissport to develop its network of aviation, airport, logistics and tourism services.

“The business presence of HNA Group, in particular its extensive knowledge of the China market, will also assist Swissport to more effectively expand emerging markets including China, which will enhance and optimize the global presence of both parties,” HNA Group vice chairman and president Tan Xiangdong said when the deal was announced in July.

With a workforce of around 60,000 personnel, Swissport is active at more than 270 stations in 48 countries, performing services for around 700 airlines.

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