UAE's dnata looking at M&A deals
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UAE’s dnata looking at M&A deals

UAE’s dnata looking at M&A deals

dnata’s chief executive Steve Allen says “there is significant scope for consolidation in airport ground handling globally”


Emirates Group’s dnata, which provides airport and travel services in over 30 countries, is looking at merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities across several businesses and geographies, including South America, its CEO said on Tuesday.

“We are probably, at any time, talking to 40 different companies” and “plenty” of deals are “at the end of the pipeline”, chief executive Steve Allen told Reuters, noting the company focuses on small to medium size acquisitions.

South America is “a huge growth market opportunity” he said, mentioning countries such as Brazil. He added that globally there was significant scope for consolidation in airport ground handling.

Founded in 1959, dnata is a sister company to Emirates airline. Its operations include supplying airlines with catering and handling baggage and cargo. It also owns companies that sell holiday packages and provide retail and corporate travel booking services.

dnata’s earnings

dnata‘s profit in the year ended March 31 more than quadrupled to Dhs1.4bn($381.2m), according to the Emirates Group annual report released on Monday.

The aviation service giant’s revenues, which climbed nearly 30 per cent to Dhs19.2bn, were boosted by more flights and travel globally.

Allen told reporters the results were also helped by long-terms business contracts that dnata renegotiated recently to factor in higher wage rates and food costs.

He said the financial impact of the huge storm that hit the UAE last month, which brought Dubai’s airport to a standstill and led to hundreds of flight cancellations, “was not too significant”.

Any impact would be reflected in its current fiscal year, which started in April.

Emirates Group reported a 71 per cent surge in annual profit to a record Dhs18.7bn and said it would pay its owner, Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund ICD, a dividend of Dhs4bn.

Read: Emirates Group announces best ever performance with profits up 71%

Several companies including Parkin and Dubai Taxi Corporation have gone public as part of the Dubai government’s privatisation programme aimed at listing state-linked companies and boosting the local stock exchange.

Asked about potential IPO plans for dnata, Allen said that the firm was “a profitable, strong company”, but it was up to the government to decide on any listing.

“On the other hand, aviation is absolutely at the heart of the success of Dubai, and therefore maybe you want to keep more control over aviation. So, I can see the pros and cons,” he added.

Read: Sheikh Ahmed addresses the question of an Emirates IPO

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