How Swissport reshaped the ground-handling industry


Swissport is the global leader in ground-handling and cargo services, with a strong presence in the Americas, Europe and Africa. The company offers ramp services (baggage loading/unloading, push back, de-icing, fuelling), passenger services (check-in/boarding) and cargo services to a diverse range of airlines (more than 650 customers).

After 10+ years tracking of the company and the sector, we acquired Swissport in February 2011 on a proprietary basis thanks to close personal connections with the Spanish construction and infrastructure conglomerate Ferrovial. This followed our belief in the opportunity offered by the increasing outsourcing trends, driven by airport deregulation and airline repositioning on core activities. We aimed to grow Swissport through acquisitions and new contract wins.


Consolidation drives results

Under PAI ownership, Swissport completed several acquisitions in Europe and Latin America, gradually becoming three times bigger than its immediate competitor. The most significant acquisition was Servisair, the world’s #3 ground handler, that was crucial to reinforce the company’s positioning in key existing countries, doubling its presence in the USA and Europe. In addition, the company expanded its geographical presence in new markets and benefited from a significant amount of operational and overhead synergies.

  • 10

    years of tracking period

  • 3

    times larger than immediate competitor

  • 5


  • How did we transform Swissport

    The success of this investment results from the world leading position of the company, while offering further expansion opportunities across Asia. This illustrates the depth of PAI’s expertise in Business Services and the strength of its local network, which enabled us to win a market leader at an attractive price and subsequently build it up to create the conditions for a highly successful exit.

Meet the deal team

  • Ricardo de Serdio

    Partner UK Team

    Ricardo de Serdio

    UK Team

    Ricardo joined PAI in 1999 and manages PAI’s Spain Team. He has been involved in a number of transactions including Mivisa, Cortefiel, Swissport and Konecta.

    He started his career at Arthur Andersen in Madrid and subsequently worked at Deutsche Bank in London in the Equity Capital Markets department. He joined Paribas in January 1996 in the Corporate Finance Group, responsible for Spain and Portugal where he advised on numerous Spanish M&A transactions and structured equity offerings for medium-sized companies.

    Ricardo graduated from Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, majoring in Finance, and from the London Business School with a Master’s Degree in Finance. His Spanish, French and English are fluent, and he is conversational in Portuguese.

  • Federico Conchillo

    Partner Spain Team Investment Group

    Federico Conchillo

    Spain Team Investment Group

    Federico joined PAI in 2007. He is a member of the Spain Team and is also the Head of the Investment Group. He has been involved in a number of transactions including Swissport, Cortefiel, DomusVi and Konecta.

    He started his career at the Boston Consulting Group, where he worked for two years. He then spent seven years as a member of the investment banking team at Merrill Lynch in Madrid and London.

    Federico studied Applied Economics at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago GSB. His Spanish, English, Dutch and French are fluent.

  • Laura Muries

    Principal Spain Team

    Laura Muries

    Spain Team

    Laura joined PAI in 2007 as a member of the Spain Team. She has been involved in several transactions including The Nuance Group, Swissport, Grupo Cortefiel, DomusVi and Konecta.

    She started her career at Merrill Lynch in the Investment Banking department in Madrid, working principally with financial sponsor clients on the execution of buy-side, sell-side and IPO transactions.

    Laura graduated in Business Administration and Law from the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid. Her Spanish and English are fluent, and she is conversational in French.

  • Alexandre Dejoie

    Principal Business Services Investment Group

    Alexandre Dejoie

    Business Services | Retail & Distribution Investment Group

    Alexandre joined PAI in 2008 as a member of the Investment Group, the Business Service Sector Team, and the Retail & Distribution Sector Team. He has been involved in a number of transactions including Kiloutou, Swissport, InnoVista Sensors and EMG.

    He started his career by spending two years at the Royal Bank of Scotland structuring large scale infrastructure transactions.

    Alexandre graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique in 2002 and holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering from Stanford University, where he was also teaching assistant in Economics. His French and English are fluent, and he is conversational in Spanish.

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