Benetton sells World Duty Free stake to Dufry

<p>The Benetton family has sold its controlling stake in World Duty Free.</p>

World Duty Free is set to fall into the hands of Switzerland's Dufry following an agreement that will create the world's largest travel retailer.

The Benetton family announced that it would be selling its controlling stake in World Duty Free to Dufry in a deal worth around €3.6 billion (£2.63 billion). The Swiss firm is paying around €10.25 a share for the 50.1 per cent stake which will see it take over a company with a market share of 25 per cent and projected annual sales of €8.3 billion.

Once completed, the deal will combine World Duty Free which operates 495 stores in 98 airports across the globe with the Basel-based Dufry with 1,650 locations in over 60 countries. The Swiss firm boasts a workforce of 20,000 employees and last year posted a record turnover of $4.3 billion (£2.9 billion).

Outlining the financial details of the deal, Dufry said in a statement: "Dufry will finance the acquisition through a mix of debt and equity, raised through a rights issue which is underwritten by a group of banks and well-known cornerstone investors."

Dufry operations

Dufry has a presence across the globe with perfumes and cosmetics being its top-selling category in the past year. Consumers purchasing these type of goods accounted for 28 per cent of all new sales in the year ending December 31st, 2014. This far outweighed the 18 per cent reached for confectionery, food and catering and 15 per cent on wine and spirits.

The company believes that by teaming up with World Duty Free it will be able expand its services to passengers visiting some of the world's busiest airports.

World Duty Free last year posted a turnover of $2.6 billion and is currently owned by Edizione, the holding company of the Benetton family.

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