WDFG completes acquisition of North American concessions from HMSHost travel retail division

With speculation about the interest in the sale of World Duty Free Group dominating the headlines for the past two weeks, World Duty Free announced that it has completed the acquisition of the remaining three concessions of 45 stores from HMSHost’s travel retail division in North America, for the price of US$ 19 million.

The term of the operation for this phase of the acquisition is for more than 5 years. The transfer was authorized by the landlords and is effective as of February 28, 2015.

WDFG logoThe stores, which are located in the Atlanta and Oakland airports and the Empire State Building in New York, are the final part of the demerger announced in 2012, in which HMS Host Corporation and its subsidiary Host International Inc., both subsidiaries of Autogrill S.p.A, transferred the travel retail operations to WDFG.

The total price for the transfer of 100% of the concessions from HMSHost amounted to $124.3 million.
In a statement, WDFG says: “This acquisition is particularly relevant for WDF as it completes the transfer of the Travel Retail assets of HMSHost in North America, which started in the context of the partial and proportional demerger from Autogrill S.p.A. in favor of World Duty Free S.p.A. and is in line with the priorities marked by the Group in the 2015-2017 optimization budget approved by the Board of Directors on 15 January 2015.”

Following the transaction, WDFG will operate 33 stores in the Atlanta Airport (totaling 3,205 square meters), 12 stores in the Oakland airport (614 sqm) and one store at the Empire State Building (279 sqm).

The combined turnover in 2014 exceeded US$ 59 million. Total 2014 pro forma revenue from all the concessions in the United States was US$ 256.7 million, reports WDFG.

With the transfer of these stores, World Duty Free Group expands and strengthens its footprint in the US, taking the total number of stores to 249 spread across 31 airports (including the top 5 busiest airports in the US) and 2 cultural locations: Houston Space Centre and the Empire State Building.

“The transfer will enable World Duty Free Group to keep introducing new retail concepts and further deploy its Global Beauty Strategy in the US travel retail sector, while using the Empire State Building experience to export best practices to the Souvenir category,” said the statement.

On Feb. 19, WDFG announced that it had renewed its contract with Civil Aviation of Kuwait (DGAC) a five-year contract (plus one additional year option) to operate the duty free stores at Kuwait International Airport, with a detailed explanation of the favorable terms for the contract.

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