Travel Retail and Duty Free Business Intelligence    Tuesday 03 May 2016


Travel catering giant SSP and Moto sold to EQT and Macquarie Bank for £1,822 million – 09/04/06

Published: 09/04/06

Source: ©The Moodie Report: The Moodie Report VIP News Alert

By Martin Moodie

SSP's elegant new Centre Bar at Zurich Airport is just one of over 3,000 units in 26 markets around the world
UK. Compass Group PLC today (Sunday) announced that it has agreed to sell its specialist travel concession catering business, SSP (Select Service Partner), and its UK motorway services business Moto, in a combined sale for an aggregate value of £1,822 million.

The transaction has been structured as a combined sale of the SSP business, including Creative Host Services Inc in the USA, to companies controlled by EQT IV, and of the UK Moto business to a company controlled by Macquarie Bank.

SSP has grown from a 400 employee Swedish business (SAS Catering) in 1961 to a company employing nearly 25,000 people in 26 countries. It was put up for sale last September.

Completion of the transaction is conditional upon obtaining clearances from European Union and United States anti-trust authorities and on the approval of Compass Group shareholders.

EQT is one of Europe’s leading private equity firms, specialising in acquiring and developing high-quality companies with strong market positions which have significant potential for growth. Macquarie Bank is one of the world’s leading providers of investment banking and financial services.

Commenting on the sale SSP Chief Executive Officer Andrew Lynch said: “I am delighted that two of the world’s leading investment companies have recognised the considerable potential in the SSP and Moto businesses.”


1961: SAS Catering formed by SAS Group

Renamed SAS Service Partner

1989: Now the largest catering company in Europe, operating in 10 countries and with 10,000 employees

1993: Acquired by Compass Group - becomes Scandinavian Service Partner

1995: Breaks into Asian market with contract at Bangkok Airport

1997: Becomes Select Service Partner (SSP), reflecting global development which now stretches into 12 countries and 40 airports

1999: Breaks into North America and Africa

2001: SSP now present in 31 countries

2004: Compass reorganises: SSP now a separate travel and concessions business

2005: SSP put up for sale by Compass


1. In the combined sale, SSP and Moto will be sold by Compass Group for an aggregate consideration of £1,822 million on a debt and cash free basis, subject to certain closing adjustments.

2. Upon completion of its sale to EQT, SSP will operate in 26 countries. These are Belgium, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (Mitropa AG), Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Jamaica, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom and the USA (Creative Host Services).

3. Also included in the sale is Rail Gourmet, which has businesses in the UK and Belgium and operates joint ventures in Finland, Norway, China and also European cross border operations for Thalys and Eurostar.

4. SSP is a leading provider of food & beverage services in airports, railway stations, onboard trains and at motorway service areas worldwide. SSP has over 40 years of experience of serving the travelling customer, through a portfolio of international and national brands and tailor made concepts. For further information go to

5. Moto is the largest operator of motorway service areas in the UK, operating in 43 locations across the country.

6. Compass Group PLC is the world's leading foodservice company providing food, vending and related services to clients and customers in the workplace, at school and colleges, hospitals, on the move, at leisure and in defence, offshore and remote locations. Compass Group has annual revenues of over £12 billion and employs 410,000 people in over 90 countries.


Macquarie one of four bidders for SSP; continues to eye European acquisitions despite London Stock Exchange pull-out – 21/02/06

Shock news for food & beverage sector as Compass Group announces proposed sale of SSP – 27/09/05