Servisair cruises to pounds 50m stock market landing

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The Independent Online
MORE than 650,000 travellers will use the services of Servisair, Europe's largest aircraft and baggage- handling company, over the bank holiday weekend, and it is hoping to persuade some of them to subscribe for its shares in a flotation planned for the autumn.

The share issue, which is expected to value Servisair at about pounds 50m, will be done by Securum, the asset management group set up by the Swedish government to handle the reconstruction of Nordbanken, one of the country's largest banks.

Securum is likely to keep about 40 per cent of the shares, but it believes that a public listing is needed to help Servisair to finance the growth expected in the industry.

Servisair operates at 26 airports in Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and the Channel Islands, handling 23.5 million passengers and 400,000 aircraft - the equivalent of one a minute. Its operation includes passenger services such as ticketing, baggage and cargo-loading, and it operates executive lounges at six British airports, including Heathrow and Gatwick.

Its business is split evenly between charter operators such as Britannia, Air Tours and Air 2000, and scheduled airlines.

Servisair's operating profits have grown from about pounds 2.2m in 1991 to pounds 3.6m, on sales of pounds 89m, in 1993. John Willis, managing director, said there was still strong growth potential from the ending of monopoly operation of airports, especially in Europe. Greece, Spain, Italy and Germany are among countries that have monopoly operators at their airports at present, but are likely to introduce competitive handlers.

In Britain, contracts with monopoly operators at Glasgow and Manchester's terminal one are due to end in 1995 and 1996 respectively.

Mr Willis said it was possible Servisair would use the listing for acquisitions, although he was confident about opportunities for organic growth. 'There is no one with the network and experience we have, especially cross-border.'

Servisair was part of the ill-fated British & Commonwealth group but was bought by a group of Swedish investors in 1990.