Dnata in talks to buy second North American operator
Emirates Group’s aviation services unit dnata is in talks to acquire a Canadian cargo handling business in what would be its second North American acquisition since entering the market.
“We’re in some discussions already with a small organisation [in Canada] … on the cargo side,” president Gary Chapman told Gulf News in an interview.
Dnata acquired Ground Services International (GSI) last month. The ground-handling operator is present at more than 20 airports, including “major international gateways,” in the United States.
Dnata reported a record a Dh1.1 billion profit for the 12 months ending March 31 and has made a series of acquisitions in airport and travel services companies globally in recent years.
The company has Dh3.5 billion in cash assets at its disposal. Chapman told Gulf News he is confident they have “the ability to acquire more” North American businesses” following the March GSI purchase.
Chapman said dnata plans to acquire part — or whole — of at least two other airport services companies in the United States, but declined to disclose who the companies were.
Dnata is entering the North American market amid an ongoing row between American and Middle East airlines, including dnata’s sister company, Emirates, also owned by the Emirates Group.
American, Delta and United accuse Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways of receiving US $42 billion in state subsidies from their government owners, an allegation the Middle East carriers deny.
Chapman said animosity between those airlines was unlikely to lead to the American carriers using other company’s ground handling services in the US.
“At the end of the day businesses have a responsibility to their shareholders to do the right thing by their business and that is to look for the right quality at the right price and I believe that is what ultimately will dominate and drive a decision,” he said.