Kuwait’s National Aviation Services is one of the interested parties in Groundforce

  • ECO News
  • 18 February 2022

National Aviation Services is one of the three companies interested in the Portuguese handling company.

Kuwait-based National Aviation Services is one of those interested in Groundforce, according to what ECO found out. The entry in the capital will have to wait, however, for the approval of the restructuring plan, which could still take many months.

NAS, which despite its name has private capital, is a subsidiary of Agility Public Warehousing Company, a logistics group, listed on the Kuwaiti stock exchange, with a market value of over $7 billion. It is present in airports in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, employs more than 6,000 people and counts Emirates, British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa among its main customers.

Swissport and the Belgian Aviapartner are the other two interested in the Portuguese handling company that operates in Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal and Porto Santo airports.

The Groundforce workers’ committee released a statement on Tuesday, reported by Público, and to which ECO also had access, where it reveals the existence of three interested parties, without identifying them.

Bruno Costa Pereira, Groundforce’s insolvency administrator, declined to comment on the identity of the companies, but confirmed that there have been contacts with a view to a possible recapitalisation of the handling company in the future.

“The company is not for sale. There is the possibility of a recapitalisation”, which will be part of the restructuring plan that will have to be discussed and approved by the creditors, explained the administrator, who with Pedro Pidwell ensures the management.

For this to happen it is necessary for the insolvency’s declaration to become final, which depends on the end of the appeal filed by Pasogal, Alfredo Casimiro’s company, which was Groundforce’s major shareholder.

The statement published by the workers’ commission, released meeting the insolvency managers, said that “there is still no judicial decision for the appeal that has been lodged, which would allow the insolvency process to be concluded within the timeframes initially foreseen”. This “conditions the possibility to present a viability plan, its vote and eventual implementation”.

Regarding the interested parties, the Workers’ Commission only says that “all development activity in the handling branch” and that “the preference will focus on someone with their own financial capacity, or with the capacity to get financing. Another requirement, a priority, will be the ability to implement a project that allows the company to be competitive and sustainable.”

Groundforce is not the only company in National Aviation Services’ sights in Europe. It is trying to acquire British airport services group John Menzies, having made a £469 million offer, rejected already this week.