European travel marketers go head to head to sell you more food | Tech US News

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France’s Lagardère Travel Retail has signed a deal to buy Swiss-based caterer Marché International, the holding company of the Marché group, whose brands include Marché Mövenpick, Mövenpick Restaurants, Palavrion Grill & Bar, White Monkey and Cindy’s Diner.

The transaction is for 100% of the shares of the international multi-brand catering company, although the price was not disclosed. It comes a few months after the world’s largest airport retailer Dufry, also based in Switzerland, announced the acquisition of Autogrill which will allow Dufry to enter the food and beverage (F&B) segment at scale in travel destinations such as airports and highways.

Lagardère Travel Retail already had substantial strength in the F&B business; it is one of the three fundamental pillars of the company, the other two being essential elements for travel and the tax bracket. However, with the Dufry deal creating a $14 billion business (based on 219 Dufry and Autogrill sales combined), Lagardère Travel Retail has hit back.

By way of comparison, the French company and Marché International generated combined sales of $6 billion (5.8 billion euros) in 2019, split between 5.5 billion and 256 million euros, respectively. Despite the much smaller size, the Marché deal still considerably strengthens Lagardère Travel Retail’s food service operations and adds some well-known brands to its portfolio.

Strengthening Europe and Asia

The integration of the Marché network would consolidate Lagardère Travel Retail’s F&B expertise in Europe and Asia in particular, according to Chairman and CEO Dag Rasmussen. He added: “Drinking and dining is an essential part of the traveller’s journey, which is why we’ve invested steadily in growing our food service over the past few years. In today’s environment, owners and travelers alike expect us to approach their needs in a comprehensive”.

On Wednesday, when the deal was announced, it did not create any ripples in the share price of the Lagardère media parent. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023, when Lagardère Travel Retail will take over Marché’s restaurant network in six countries: Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Singapore and Slovenia.

Marché’s established international footprint in travel and leisure venues includes airports, railway and motorway stations and zoos, as well as downtown shopping centres. The strongest market for the Swiss company is Germany with 100 of its 161 stores, followed by Slovenia (a new market for Lagardère) with 22 and Croatia with 15.

In 2019, Lagardère Travel Retail’s food service business achieved more than €1 billion ($1.04 billion) in sales, doubling its turnover over three years. The Marché deal will ensure an additional boost to F&B in addition to organic sales revival as more passengers take to the air in the current quarter and next year.

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