23. 01. 2008 - The General Meeting Gives a Green Light to the Sale of Czech Airlines’ Catering to Alpha Overseas Holdings

Prague, 23 January 2008

An extraordinary general meeting of Czech Airlines today approved the sale of its subsidiary Air Czech Catering to Alpha Overseas Holdings.  The final settlement of the transaction is expected in late March to early April 2008.

The catering divestment and the airline’s focus on its main line of business are a part of its OK 2006-2008 revitalisation strategy, approved by the Czech Airlines general meeting in June 2006, as a three-year concept for the rescue, stabilisation, and development of the company.  The sale of Air Czech Catering to Alpha Overseas Holdings Limited was approved by the Czech Airlines Management Board and Supervisory Board at the end of last year.  In mid-January, contractual documentation was signed between the two parties and the conditions for the hand-over of the company were set.

The money that Czech Airlines obtains from the sale of Air Czech Catering will be used to pay the obligations arising from aircraft financial leasing, i.e. invested to the property of Czech Airlines.  Czech Airlines will thus have rid itself of its past debts, and money will be freed up for further development,” said Czech Airlines President Radomír Lašák.  He also noted that the sale of the catering business will not have a negative impact on the quality of the meals served on board of Czech Airlines, which is ensured by a long-term agreement with the purchaser.

We are delighted that the shareholders of CSA Czech Airlines approved the sale to Alpha of Air Czech Catering, CSA’s flight catering business based at Prague Airport.  CSA Czech Airlines, in making their divestment decision, recognised that Alpha have the required experience and expertise, having operated Flight Catering units in Central Europe since 2005” commented Robert Shepherd, Managing Director, Alpha Flight – Mainland Europe/USA and added: “Alpha look forward to developing closer business relations with CSA, a key airline in the emerging market of Central Europe. We will also be bringing a range of innovative product developments to this market, as part of our business plan.

Peter Williams, CEO Alpha Group commented: “The purchase of this business is part of Alpha Flight’s strategic approach to Central Europe. Alpha Flight has excellent credentials in this region and will undoubtedly manage the business in line with their internationally recognised high standards of product, efficiency, compliance and service.

Maintaining high-quality service on board Czech Airlines
The agreement with the new purchaser includes a long-term agreement on the basis of which Air Czech Catering shall provide services to Czech Airlines under the present price conditions.  The agreement also guarantees that the high quality of meals will be maintained, including adherence to the strict hygienic regulations specific to air catering.  Czech Airlines will continue to determine the composition of meals for passengers on board its aircraft.

Course of the Divestment
Information about the catering business was provided to 67 potentially interested parties from among financial investors and domestic as well as foreign catering companies.  24 of them expressed interest in participating in the sales process.  On the basis of the information package provided to interested parties, 17 investors presented their preliminary offers in January 2007.  On 1 April 2007, a separate subsidiary, Air Czech Catering, was established.  Seven companies that demonstrated sufficient financial backing were permitted to perform due diligence of the catering business.  The final offers were submitted in October by two companies.  The best and most advantageous sales conditions were offered to Czech Airlines by Alpha Overseas Holdings Limited.  The price achieved significantly exceeds the independent market valuation.


Alpha Overseas Holdings Limited
It is a 100% subsidiary of Alpha Airports Group owned by Italian Autogrill Plc. Alpha is one of the world’s leading aviation support companies, providing retail and catering services for airlines and airports from over 200 outlets in 17 countries across five continents.
Alpha Flight serves airline customers by offering a comprehensive range of catering logistics, inflight catering, bonded stores and inflight retail management services for over 100 airlines in 12 countries.

Autogrill Group
Autogrill is the world’s biggest provider of food & beverage and retail services for travellers. With sales of around € 4 billion in 2006, it’s currently present in 42 countries, with over 5,200 points of sale in over 1100 locations, where 70,000 employees serve over 890 million customers every year. Autogrill operates directly and through its main subsidiaries, HMSHost, Aldeasa (50%) and Alpha, chiefly in airports, motorways and railway stations, plus shopping centres and high streets. The acquisition of Alpha also entered Autogrill in the in-flight catering business.
Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, Autogrill is controlled by Edizione Holding S.p.A. – the Benetton family’s investment arm – which holds 58% of share capital through Schematrentaquattro S.r.l..

 

Daniela Hupáková
Communications Director
Czech Airlines Spokesperson

 

CONTACTS

Czech Airlines                  
Daniela Hupáková                       
Ředitelka komunikace, tisková mluvčí                                      
tel.: 220 11 6220      
daniela.hupakova@csa.cz

 

Alpha Airports Group Plc                        
Avril Appleyard
Group Communications Director
tel: 020 8580 3200             
AAppleyard@alpha-group.com

 

Kavanagh Communications                       
Annie Stevens
Senior Consultant
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