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gategroup completes acquisition of LSG’s European operations

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gategroup Holding has formally completed the acquisition of the European operations of LSG Group from Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Financial details have not been disclosed.

This closing completes the transaction, which was announced on 9 December 2019, following its approval by the EU Commission. In compliance with its commitments to the European Union, gategroup has signed binding agreements to divest parts of its existing German in-flight catering operations, a minority interest in an in-flight catering kitchen at Brussels airport and some catering assets at Rome (FCO) and Paris (CDG) airports. gategroup expects to complete the divestments in Q1/2021.

The transaction comprises LSG’s in-flight catering operations in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain as well as the global equipment business trading under the SPIRIANT brand. It also includes the European convenience food operations trading under the Evertaste brand, the Ringeltaube retail outlets as well as its European train catering and lounge operations.

“This milestone also marks the beginning of a new chapter for the LSG Group and everyone else who works in the same industry,” said LSG Group CEO Erdmann Rauer. “It is a different world full of unique challenges, but we are confident in the fact that together with our customers we will find the right solutions with the same creative spirit, dedication and hard work that has brought us this far.”

gategroup will introduce a new Lufthansa-dedicated Studio 50/8, a culinary think tank and exclusive house of inspiration. This is one example which shows the joint passion and commitment of Lufthansa and gategroup to enhance customer experience from end-to-end and with this, defining a new airline catering industry standard.

Gogo HQ - external skysline

Gogo Commercial Aviation becomes part of Intelsat family

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Gogo HQ - external skysline

Intelsat has completed its acquisition of the Commercial Aviation business of Gogo in USD400 million cash deal.

Gogo will continue as a publicly traded company, now singularly focused on leveraging its ATG network and proprietary spectrum to serve the business aviation market.

According to Oakleigh Thorne, President and CEO of Gogo: “The completion of the sale of our CA business to Intelsat marks the beginning of a new chapter for Gogo; we are a leader in business aviation and now turn our singular focus toward serving that attractive market. Our business aviation division has proven resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the number of business aircraft online today has nearly returned to January levels.

“Looking forward, we see great opportunity to create value for our customers, employees and shareholders,” Thorne added. “And on behalf of all of us at Gogo, I want to extend my sincere thanks to the talented CA team that joins Intelsat today. The opportunities that await them are a testament to their unwavering dedication and commitment to Gogo and their aviation partners.”

“Combining Intelsat’s next-generation global telecommunications network with Gogo Commercial Aviation’s leading capabilities and airline relationships will create unprecedented innovation in in-flight digital connectivity, unlocking exciting new growth and brand loyalty opportunities across the airline industry,” said Intelsat Chief Executive Stephen Spengler. “With our powerful, integrated offering, airlines will no longer need to trade off speed, reliability or availability for coverage, even when flying at full capacity in and out of the busiest airport hubs.”

Intelsat announced several leadership changes, effective as part of the deal close.

John Wade will remain president of Gogo Commercial Aviation, now a division of Intelsat.

Bruno Fromont has been named Intelsat’s Chief Technology Officer. He will lead spectrum strategy, asset planning, product development and innovation.

Jon Cobin has been named Intelsat’s Chief Strategy Officer, leading the company’s corporate strategy and business development efforts.

RUAG Oberpfaffenhofen site

RUAG International begins sell-off of MRO business at Oberpfaffenhofen location

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RUAG Oberpfaffenhofen site

General Atomics Europe is to acquire the maintenance, repair and operation for business aircraft and military helicopters, as well as the production of the Dornier 228 at Oberpfaffenhofen from RUAG International.

The new owner will take over all 450 employees.

The transfer of ownership (contractual closing) is expected to be completed this year and is part of an ongoing realignment of RUAG International. The sale of parts of the company is taking place in accordance with the unbundling concept approved by the Swiss Federal Council on 15 March 2019. The business activities affected by the sale were all brought together in the MRO International division, whose parts of the company are all to be divested in the future. The two locations specialising in business jets at Geneva-Cointrin and Lugano-Agno airports were sold in July 2019. The purchaser of the two locations was the French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

RUAG Aerostructures, which is also based at Oberpfaffenhofen and employs 800 people, is not affected by the sale.

Location safeguarding and technological expertise for Bavaria Harald Robl, Managing Director of General Atomics Europe, commented: “We are aware of the challenges that a takeover of this magnitude means, especially in the aviation sector amid the current coronavirus crisis. However, General Atomics Europe is economically robust. In addition, we have developed a future concept that creates a classic win-win situation for GA-Europe and the future new location in Oberpfaffenhofen. We are convinced of the great potential of this company and its employees and want to develop Oberpfaffenhofen into the European aviation core of the General Atomics Europe Group.”

Brahim's Airline Catering offloading to customer aircraft

Focus Dynamics enters in-flight catering provision

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Brahim's Airline Catering offloading to customer aircraft

Malaysian investment holding company, Focus Dynamics Group Bhd has acquired 12.19% stake in in-flight catering service, Brahims Holdings Bhd.

Brahim has the world’s largest halal central kitchen, spanning 59,000 square meters, capable of catering up to 60,000 meals per day out of its central kitchen in Sepang, Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Focus Dynamics’ with its plans for digital cloud Kitchen services, E-kitchen network and other flagship outlets, sees this acquisition as the key step to establish a solid platform of operations to cater for its expansion and growth plans. “With collaborative access to a large central kitchen, reliable and proven track record and a complete logistics network, fusing modern concepts and enhancing user experience becomes a matter of technology adoption, which is what Focus Dynamics is all about” said Benson Tay, Executive Director.

According to Focus, this platform allows the company to accelerate its plans to develop a complete, end to end network of providing commissary kitchen services for corporate clients, existing partners, shadow kitchen networks and cloud kitchen services as well as its own portfolio of restaurants and entertainment outlets. Establishing this cornerstone relationship with Brahims also opens the doors for an international trading network via airlines and in-flight catering services for Focus’ brand of products.

“We are excited with the direction, and we hope to be able to speed things up significantly with this association. Having access to the largest central kitchen in Kuala Lumpur and with a strong existing portfolio of clients, we will be able to turnkey a few concepts into operational viability far quicker than an organic approach,” Tay added.

Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Gogo to sell its commercial aviation business to Intelsat for US$400 million

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The Gogo Board of Directors has approved the transaction. Intelsat expects to finance the transaction utilising cash on hand and borrowings under its US$1 billion debtor-in-possession credit facility and has obtained support from key economic stakeholders, as well as approval from the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, to complete the acquisition. The transaction, which is expected to close before the end of the first quarter 2021, remains subject to customary closing conditions and certain regulatory approvals.

“Following a competitive strategic review process, we’re confident this transaction unlocks the full value of the CA business for shareholders,” said Oakleigh Thorne, Gogo’s President and CEO. “Combining CA, the leading inflight connectivity provider, with Intelsat, the world’s largest global satellite operator, will create the leading vertically-integrated IFC business in the world, with the additional resources and scale to support continued growth and innovation as demand for commercial air travel recovers.”

“With shared values and a clear commitment to working with the CA team to grow the business, we are confident Intelsat is the right partner. I am extremely grateful for the CA team’s efforts – particularly over the past few months. Today’s announcement is a testament to the strength of the business they have built,” Thorne said.

Gogo, which will remain a public company, will use the proceeds from the transaction to improve its net debt position and continue to invest in growth opportunities such as Gogo 5G. With greater financial flexibility, including a lower cost of capital over time, the new Gogo will be better positioned to enhance the scale and profitability of its Business Aviation (BA) segment, which is uniquely well-positioned in an attractive and underpenetrated market. 

“This transaction creates a stronger and more focused Gogo, with the singular strategic imperative of serving the business aviation market with the best inflight connectivity and entertainment products in the world,” Thorne said. “The BA market continues its sharp recovery and strong demand growth trajectory, and our BA segment is exceptionally well-positioned to drive long-term value creation in that industry.”

As part of the transaction, Gogo will enter into a ten-year network services agreement under which Intelsat will have exclusive access to Gogo ATG services for the CA market in North America, subject to minimum revenue guarantees of $177.5 million.

Intelsat intends to operate the CA business as an independent business unit, led by current CA President John Wade. The CA business will remain based in Chicago.

BDT & Company served as primary financial advisor to Gogo, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as financial co-advisors, and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP served as legal advisor.

Accelya completes Farelogix acquisition

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Accelya has completed its acquisition of Farelogix, enabling it to provide a next-generation, end-to-end, Offer-to-Settlement airline commerce platform, including a full suite of innovative retailing, distribution, and fulfillment solutions.

To accelerate the delivery of Accelya’s next generation platform, the Accelya and Farelogix management teams will be fully integrated, with Farelogix CEO Jim Davidson being appointed Chief Product Officer of the newly expanded Accelya Group.

“With the acquisition of Farelogix complete, we can now focus our efforts on delivering an integrated Offer-to-Settlement platform that drives revenue, increases brand loyalty, and reduces costs for airlines worldwide,” said John Johnston, Chief Executive Officer of Accelya.

Davidson commented: “There has never been a greater need in our industry for creativity, rapid innovation, and new technology choices for airlines as they work through this time of COVID-19, recovery, and the future of airline retailing. We have had tremendous interest and support from across the industry and with the completion of the acquisition by Accelya, we can execute our vision to deliver these essential, pro-airline solutions needed by our current and future airline customers.”

Hanwha Systems acquires Phasor Solutions

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South Korea’s Hanwha Systems has acquired the business and assets of the UK-based Phasor Solutions, the technology development arm of Arlington, US-based Phasor.

Hanwha Systems had been searching for its future growth engine and looked at possible investment opportunities in the satellite communication antenna business since last year and were attracted to Phasor’s antenna technology for Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellite communications.

Hanwha plans to enter into the satellite communication antenna business, where its existing communication and radar technologies can be fully utilised, and securing proprietary technology for Low-Earth-Orbit satellite antenna, thereby strengthening Hanwha Systems’ aerospace system capabilities.

Phasor’s electronically steerable antennas (ESAs) are based on patented innovations in dynamic beam-forming technologies and system architecture.

The Phasor ESA will be capable of supporting high bandwidth data communications with Ku-band satellites in both commercial GEO and LEO orbits and will also include an integrated radome, as a single line replaceable unit (LRU).

Youn Chul Kim, CEO of Hanwha Systems, said: “Our company made a swift decision for the investment as this market has the big potential for the growth and this technology is of strategic importance for Hanwha Systems.”

In April, Phasor Systems appointed Duff & Phelps as administrators, following the collapse of a proposed sale, and the subsequent failure to meet financial obligations, largely attributed to the impact of COVID-19.

Consortium looks to acquire OneWeb

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A consortium led by HMG (through the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy) and Bharti Global Limited, is set to acquire OneWeb in connection with its court-supervised sale process. The bid is designed to capitalise the company sufficiently as a going concern to effectuate the full end-to-end deployment of the OneWeb system.

Bharti Airtel has its own extensive mobile broadband networks and enterprise business, which will act as the testing ground for all OneWeb products, services, and applications.

Adrian Steckel, CEO of OneWeb commented: “We are delighted to have concluded the sale process with such a positive outcome that will benefit not only OneWeb’s existing creditors, but also our employees, vendors, commercial partners, and supporters worldwide who believe in the mission and in the promise of global connectivity. The combination of HMG and Bharti will bring immediate value as we develop as a global leader in low latency connectivity. This successful outcome for OneWeb underscores the confidence in our business, technology, and the work of our entire team. With differentiated and flexible technology, unique spectrum assets and a compelling market opportunity ahead of us, we are eager to conclude the process and get back to launching our satellites as soon as possible.”

The transaction remains subject to approval by the US Bankruptcy Court, as well as regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2020. In the meantime, the purchasing consortium will work with the OneWeb management team to further develop the strategy and business plan and to resume the Company’s launch schedule.

TFF Aerospace

CAI steps in to purchase TFF Aerospace

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TFF Aerospace

Commercial Aircraft Interiors (CAI) of Arlington, Washington has acquired TTF Aerospace, a full-service commercial aircraft interior design and manufacturing company.

TTF Aerospace entered receivership in January 2020, amid a cash crisis and had recently begun the process of selling off its assets.

According to a social media post confirming the acquisition, CAI said the purchase “bolsters its market position and creates synergies in the crew rest market. The group can now offer its customers a range of products and services, a portfolio in which its aircraft interiors business should balance for sustainable growth.”

TTF Aerospace was co-founded in June 1999 by ex-AIM Altitude employees Tim Morgan and Bradford Wilson.