Bidvest sells off travel portfolio

By Sandile Mchunu for IOL

The Bidvest Group has signed an agreement with National Aviation Services (NAS), Colossal Africa and a consortium consisting of the current executive team to acquire its business BidAir Services for an undisclosed amount.

BidAir is the country’s largest ground handling company and its acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, as well as permission from the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa), which manages South African airports.

NAS chief executive Hassan El-Houry said NAS prides itself on its global expertise and local knowledge.

“We believe that the success of the aviation industry in Africa is tied to its economic prosperity and have made significant investments into the industry across the continent.

“We look forward to adding BidAir Services, the largest South African ground handling company to our expanding network.”

BidAir provides quality-handling services, including passenger and ramp handling, load control and operations, cleaning, toilet and water services, among others at nine South African airports.

Bidvest took a decision to divest from BidAir and Bidvest Car Rental following a detailed strategic review of all its businesses and the group wanted to sell the businesses to preserve as many jobs as possible.

In the year to end June 2020, the group said BidAir lounges was on track for a record performance but was curtailed in the pandemic-affected fourth quarter and reported a loss during the year.

BidAir has a clientele of more than 28 major airlines including international carriers such as Emirates, Etihad Airways, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air France, Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir.

NAS and Colossal Africa said they are committed to investing into the development of facilities and infrastructure, latest equipment, technology, recruitment and training.

Colossal Africa director Cingashe Motale said as a 100 percent black women-owned investment holdings company their strategy focuses on the development of local capabilities while building a globally competitive company through strategic acquisitions and partnerships in their chosen sectors.

“This transaction involves all the elements that form part of that strategy and working with a partner of such calibre as NAS puts us on a path that fits all the pieces together,” Motale said. The current executive management team of BidAir will also ensure that there is a smooth transition to the new owners with no disruption.

NAS said following the acquisition it will focus on training to develop the knowledge and skills of local South African youth while offering more employment opportunities and career options with an emphasis on employment equity.

“One of the key offerings will also include the integration of IT and healthcare to support civil aviation and government authorities during emergencies such as the current Covid19 pandemic,” NAS said.


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