Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific and AWPL join forces through 50:50 JV

By Charlotte Turner |

Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific and Australian Travel Retailer AWPL plan to form a 50:50 joint venture, with effect from 1 January 2022, under the name of Lagardère AWPL, ‘to maximise recovery in the Pacific’.

 

The news follows TRBusiness’ exclusive interview with Lagardère Travel Retail CEO, Dag Rasmussen, where the CEO talked up the importance of joint venture partnerships.

 

The new Pacific entity would house each company’s operations in Australia and New Zealand including Duty Free, Food Services, Travel Essentials and Specialty.

 

This merger is subject to Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) clearance and will be completed upon their approval.

 

Speaking exclusively to TRBusiness in October, following the reopening of the Australian border, Przemek Lesniak, CEO of Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific, said:“The last 18 months have challenged our business at every level. Our number one priority has been supporting our teams in store who have been the most impacted as borders and restrictions have moved and changed constantly.

 

“Our second priority has been working with airports, other landlords and our partners to mitigate the crisis, manage stock and keep the business running. While this has been an incredibly difficult period, pausing our operations has allowed us to look at new opportunities and set ourselves up for sustainable growth moving forward.”

 

Przemek Lesniak, CEO Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific.

“By coming together, we can play a leading role in re-building and growing the strong and vibrant Pacific Travel Retail industry,” said Przemek Lesniak, CEO Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific.

MAXIMISING OPPORTUNTIES IN RECOVERY

Echoing Lesniak’s sentiments, Lagardère AWPL said that by joining forces and merging their businesses, Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific and AWPL aim to maximise opportunities in their recovery and achieve market leadership to better serve the needs of partners, landlords and travellers in the Pacific region.

 

Combining their strengths, the partners are confident they can deliver a comprehensive offer to all customers using the very best elements of an international group and a highly-recognised, local family business.

 

Lagardère Travel Retail and AWPL, who have operated alongside each other for decades, said they share the same values of the importance of people, operational excellence, trust, innovation & long-term vision.

 

The JV will essentially regroup all operations from both partners in Australia and New Zealand, including Duty Free, Food Services, Travel Essentials and Specialty retail.

 

CO-CEOS APPOINTED

Lesniak, CEO Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific and Costa Kouros, AWPL founder and Managing Director, are appointed co-CEOs of the new company.

 

All Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific and AWPL staff – totalling 850+ people – will be transferred into the new entity.

 

Costa Kouros, AWPL founder and Managing Director.

“The customer will be at the heart of everything we do,” said Costa Kouros, AWPL founder and Managing Director.

Commenting on this announcement, Luc Mansion, Lagardère Travel Retail’s CFO and COO, Pacific, said: “The Covid crisis has fundamentally changed market dynamics and opened the door to consolidation opportunities, notably in the Pacific which has been one of the hardest hit regions.

 

“By joining forces with AWPL, we are bringing the ‘Stronger Together” motto to life and giving ourselves the best chance to thrive beyond the recovery. We’re thrilled to have come to an agreement with the AWPL “family”, a highly respected partner who not only complements our strengths but also shares the same strong values with us.

 

‘GREAT NEWS FOR LANDLORDS’

“Together we are confident that we can dramatically improve our ability to support our landlord’s ambitions and create unique experiences for travellers as we step into this new journey.”

 

Lagardere’s Lesniak added: “I am confident that our planned Joint Venture with AWPL is great news for our people, landlords and partners as we continue our recovery.

 

“By coming together, we can play a leading role in re-building and growing the strong and vibrant Pacific Travel Retail industry through a unique commercial offer and greater innovation. I look forward to working with Costa, our teams, and our partners to make this exciting proposal a reality.”

 

AWPL’s Kouros, said: “The last 18 months have challenged Travel Retail on a global scale. The intention of this Joint Venture is to bring together two great businesses – our heritage, our people, our values – so that we create something special in our region – for many years to come. The customer will be at the heart of everything we do, every decision we make.”

 

Newslink Pty Ltd started operations in Australia in 1990, before becoming part of Lagardère Travel Retail in 2001. Lagardere Travel Retail then expanded the business to New Zealand in 2011. We now operate 130+ stores across Travel Essentials, Duty Free & Fashion and Foodservice in 20 airports and 4 stations and cultural centres, including the Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens.

 

AWPL operates over 50 travel retail stores in Australia and New Zealand. A business born in 1990, the AWPL “family” became known as the Heartbeat of Travel Retail. Our connection to our supply partners, our airport partners, our landlords and our friends and supporters is what creates our magic.

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