November 29 2021  |  Retailers

Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific and AWPL form joint venture

By Wendy Morley

“I am confident that our planned joint venture with AWPL is great news for our people, landlords and partners as we continue our recovery” - Przemek Lesniak, CEO, Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific

Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific and Australian travel retailer AWPL have announced plans to form a joint venture, effective January 1, 2022.

Under the name of Lagardere AWPL, the 50:50 joint venture would house each company’s operations in Australia and New Zealand including duty free, food services, travel essentials and specialty. The merger is subject to Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) clearance and will be completed upon its approval.

By merging their businesses, Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific and AWPL aim to maximize opportunities in their recovery and achieve market leadership to better serve the needs of partners, landlords and travelers in the Pacific region.

Combining their complementary strengths, the partners said they were confident they could deliver a comprehensive offer to all customers using the best elements of an international group and a highly recognized, local family business. Lagardere Travel Retail and AWPL have operated alongside each other for decades and share the same values of the importance of people, operational excellence, trust, innovation and long-term vision.

Przemek Lesniak, CEO, Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific, and Costa Kouros, AWPL founder and Managing Director, are appointed co-CEOs of the new company. All Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific and AWPL staff – totaling 850+ people – will be transferred into the new entity.

Commenting on this announcement, Luc Mansion, Lagardere 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. Together we are confident that we can dramatically improve our ability to support our landlords’ ambitions and create unique experiences for travelers as we step into this new journey.”

Przemek Lesniak, CEO, Lagardere Travel Retail Pacific, said: “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 rebuilding 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.”

Costa Kouros, AWPL Founder and Managing Director, 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 Lagardere Travel Retail in 2001. Lagardere Travel Retail then expanded the business to New Zealand in 2011. It now operates 130+ stores across travel essentials, duty free & fashion and foodservice in 20 airports and four stations and cultural centres, including the Sydney Opera House and Royal Botanic Gardens.

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


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