Since its establishment in 1977, the Group has grown through numerous steps and events that represented important milestones for the development of new growth strategies. In particular, the Group grew through the acquisition of foreign companies (the most significant transaction was completed in 1999 with the acquisition of HMSHost, leader in the provision of airport catering services in the USA), Autogrill carries out catering activities in all the channels that relate to mobility (airports, highways and railway stations) in Italy through Autogrill Italia, in other European countries (France, Belgium and Switzerland) through foreign divisions and in North America (United States and Canada) through HMSHost, a division also responsible for operations at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and in some other airports in Northern Europe, Asia and Oceania.
The offering is generally characterized by both a local and global imprint, through the use of proprietary brands (like, for example, Puro Gusto, Ciao, Bubbles, Beaudevin etc.), local licensed brands and the management of internationally renowned licensed brands like Starbucks Coffee, Burger King, Brioche Dorée, etc..
In some countries and channels, Food & Beverage units also offer, in a more or less integrated way with the catering offering, products for daily use (papers and magazines, tobacco, lottery tickets) and other products, food and non-food (in 2013 tobacco sales accounted for 4% of the Group’s total sales, alcohol for 8%) as well as re-fuelling services.
Group operations are mainly conducted via contracts for the assignment of commercial services awarded by the landlords and operators of infrastructures (airports, highways, railway stations, etc.). In the majority of cases, the contracts are stipulated following competitive tenders for which it is of the utmost importance to rely on elevated know-how, high quality standards of the offer proposed and of the quality-price ratio and local differentiation of the product offering in order to meet different consumer needs.
The main new contracts stipulated in 2013:
Airports of Bali-Ngurah Rai, Surabaya-Juanda and Balikpapan-Sepinggan in Indonesia
Dusseldorf airport in Germany
In the railway stations of the Eurotunnel in the UK and inside the East Midlands airport
Pulkovo-Saint Petersburg airport in Russia
Despite the stiff competition, in most cases concessions offer an important advantage over other types of contracts: exclusivity.
The concession system allows the planning of activities over the medium-long term. The duration of the contract is usually proportional to the level of capital expenditure required and varies based on the type of offering. Generally, catering activities on highways require higher investments than other channels, because in the majority of cases investments are also needed for the refurbishment of the building. In view of this, highway concessions have an average duration of 10 to 25 years, with peaks of over 30 years, while airport concessions are generally for briefer periods, averaging 5-10 years.
The valuation criteria of the offer vary in relation to the business channels, the offer type and the country of reference.
The main selection criteria include:
economic-financial quality and sustainability of the commercial project;
design and layout of the spaces;
operator’s know–how and track record;
financial commitments undertaken in terms of capex and rents.