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Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific joins forces with AWPL

Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific and Australian Travel Retailer AWPL announced that they plan to form a joint venture, with effect from 1st January 2022.

Under the name of Lagardère 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 retail. This merger is subject to Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) clearance and will be completed upon their approval.

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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 complementary 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 have operated alongside each other for decades and share the same values of the importance of people, operational excellence, trust, innovation & long-term vision.

Subject to final documentation, and once local regulatory approval has been secured, the 50:50 Joint Venture will be operating from 1st January 2022 under the name “Lagardère AWPL”.

Przemek Lesniak, CEO Lagardère 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.

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. 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.”

Przemek Lesniak, CEO Lagardère 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 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.”

Costa Kouros, Founder and Managing Director, AWPL, 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. Lagardère Travel Retail then expanded the business to New Zealand in 2011 and now operates 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.

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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.