Singapore-based ground handling services firm SATS is acquiring Paris-based Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) for US$1.15 billion (S$1.65 billion) cash, to create the world’s biggest global air cargo handler, the companies said.

“This is a transformational opportunity for SATS and our proposed acquisition of WFS will create a global leader,” Kerry Mok, SATS’ CEO, said in a statement on Wednesday (Sep 28).

SATS is buying WFS from an affiliate of US private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

The deal will be the biggest acquisition by SATS, which has a market value of S$4.35 billion and counts state investor Temasek Holdings as its single biggest shareholder, according to Refinitiv data.

Last week, Bloomberg News reported SATS had sounded out financing for a potential deal which could be worth about S$4.35 billion.

SATS had told the Singapore bourse that it was in talks to buy WFS but said the Bloomberg report contained “materially inaccurate facts”.

Trading in shares of SATS were halted earlier on Wednesday.

SATS said the purchase would be “immediately financially accretive” on a proforma basis and raise SATS’ earnings per share by 78 per cent to 3.2 Singapore cents from 1.8 cents reported for the year ended March, and increase revenue by more than 200 per cent.

WFS reported 1.72 billion euros in revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation of 232 million euros for the year ended March 2022.

Founded in 1984, WFS is the world’s largest air cargo logistics provider and a leading provider of ground handling and technical services. It has more than 300 customers and employs 32,300 staff, the company said.

Source: Reuters