SSP Upper Crust

Source: Getty Images

Top story

Travel food-to-go operator SSP Group has expanded its presence in Australia with the acquisition of Airport Retail Enterprises (ARE) for an undisclosed price.

The London-listed owner of Upper Crust and Ritazza said the deal was aligned with its strategy to accelerate growth in the Asia Pacific region.

ARE generates annual sales of about AUS$200m (£100m) from 62 bars, casual dining restaurants and cafes across seven Australian airports.

SSP added the acquisition would provide an opportunity to build a stronger operational platform in Australia and deliver synergies across the combined business.

CEO Patrick Coveney said the deal would increase the portfolio of brands and concepts, give entry into new prime air locations, enhance SSP’s position as a leading airport F&B operator in the country and create significant value for shareholders.

“The Asia Pacific region offers a significant opportunity to build returns and drive growth for the group.

“Our enlarged business in Australia will have the opportunity to become a regional centre of excellence. We look forward to welcoming c. 1,500 colleagues from the ARE business to our team.”

SSP, which operates sites in 36 countries, has been present in Australia since 2007 and now operates 40 units across seven airports and one train station in the country.

The deal will give the group entry into four new aiports in Australia.

ARE founder Peter Butts said: “Since 1971, Airport Retail Enterprises has been focused on creating exceptional dining experiences for our customers and, in doing so, has grown to become a leading operator of airport F&B outlets in Australia.

“This transaction is a major milestone for ARE and we are delighted that it will be joining the SSP Group, one of the leading F&B operators in travel locations globally.

“The acquisition will allow the combined business to offer an even wider range of high-quality F&B selections and maintain an unwavering commitment to excellence in the airport environment.”

The acquisition is expected to complete by the end of June, subject to regulatory clearance.

Shares in SSP jumped 1.4% to 227.4p as markets opened this morning.

Morning update

The FTSE 100 opened a touch higher at 7,580.91pts this morning.

It’s a quiet start to the week for f&b news given the half-term school holidays.

Early risers so far include Just Eat Takeaway, up 5.5% to 1,312.2p, McBride, up 4.7% to 71.2p, THG, up 4% to 65.6p, and Nichols, up 3.5% to 1,015p.

Fallers included Science in Sport, down 2% to 16.7p, Hilton Food Group, down 1.4% to 793p, Premier Foods, down 0.7% to 138p, and Greencore, down 0.7% to 99.2p.

This week in the City

There’s not a great deal scheduled on the markets this week but a handful of global drinks players report financials.

Coca-Cola issues its Q4 results tomorrow in the US, followed by full-year numbers from European bottling partner Coca-Cola HBC on Wednesday.

Dutch brewing giant Heineken also reports full-year results on Wednesday, with US listed brewer Molson Coors putting out its figures the day before.

Kraft Heinz is scheduled to reveal quarterly results in the US on Wednesday.

To end the week, the ONS retail sales figures for January are out on Friday.