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dnata expands European cargo-services with BDO at its side

06 April 2022

dnata (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) has acquired all shares in Wisskirchen Handling Services GmbH (Cologne). The closing of the transaction is still subject to receipt of regulatory approvals. 

A mutli-disciplinary transactional advisory team of BDO Legal Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH and BDO AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft jointly led by Thorsten Schumacher (BDO Legal, Düsseldorf) and Dr Steffen Eube (BDO AG, Frankfurt am Main) has advised Dubai-based dnata on the planned acquisition of Wisskirchen Handling Services (Wisskirchen).

With the planned acquisiton, dnata expands its European footprint by entering into the German market and will further develop its position as a leading global cargo services provider. 

Wisskirchen is the exclusive operator of the Cologne Bonn Cargo Centre, a 12,000 sqm facility at Cologne/Bonn Airport (CGN) providing a full range of cargo services via a team of some 180 highly-trained employees. Wisskirchen handles more than 85,000 tonnes of cargo annually, including general cargo, perishables, pharmaceuticals, dangerous goods, electronics and fast-moving consumer goods.  

CGN is the third largest airport in Germany in terms of cargo operations with significant capacity for further growth. It operates 24 hours a day and is ideally located in the heart of Northwest Europe with excellent road connections. In 2021 cargo handled at CGN increased by 14% year over year, marking a new annual record for the airport.

dnata has acquired 100% of the shares in Wisskirchen from its current sole shareholder, Mr Oliver Hellwig. The parties agreed not to disclose details of the transaction. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.  

As one of the world’s leading air services providers, dnata currently provides quality and reliable ground handling, cargo, catering and retail services at over 120 airports in 19 countries.

Stewart Angus, dnata’s Regional CEO for Europe, said: “We are delighted to announce dnata’s first cargo investment in Germany. This is part of our continued broader investment in cargo infrastructure. Since 2014 we have invested in nine new cargo facilities in Europe. We look forward to playing our role in the next stage of development of Cologne/Bonn Airport as a major cargo hub. We would like to thank the team at BDO for their professional and valuable support through this transaction.” 

In recent years, dnata has made significant investments in advanced infrastructure to enhance its cargo offering. This included the opening of new, state-of-the-art cargo facilities in Manchester (UK), Karachi and Lahore (Pakistan), and additional cargo capacity and infrastructure in Brussels (Belgium), Sydney (Australia) and Toronto (Canada). Most recently, dnata has announced that it would invest over €200 million in its operations in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and operate one of the world’s largest and most advanced cargo facilities at Schiphol Airport.  In addition, this spring dnata will open the second phase of the dnata City East project at London Heathrow (UK). 

The BDO team advised dnata comprehensively on the due diligence and legal aspects of the transaction. The regulatory aspects of the transaction were advised by the Düsseldorf law firm ROCAN.


Advisors to dnata

BDO Legal Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Thorsten Schumacher (M&A/Lead), Dr. Patricia Sirchich von Kis-Sira (Coroprate Law), Dr. Marcel Fricke, Jessica Fischer (both Commercial), Dr. Andreas Graef, Lorenz Frank (both Public Law/Procurement Law), Manfred Hack, Danny Sassek (both Employment Law), Grit Köthe, Michael Knoll (both Customs Law), Peter Bellendorf (Real Estate), Dr. Heiko Büsing (Litigation) and Frank Metzler (IP)


BDO AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft

Dr. Steffen Eube (Lead), Paul Jouy (both Corporate Finance), Dr. Henrik Meyer, Daniela Lechler and Theresa Bootz (all Tax)


ROCAN Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB

Dr. Tobias Pukropski, Paul Drößler (both Foreign Direct Investment Law)