Ermes Department Stores Plc., the retail operating arm of the Shacolas Group, has agreed to sell its 50% stake in the airports shops operator CTC-ARI Holdings to joint venture partner Aer Rianta International for €55.7 mln.
CTC-ARI Holdings is the owner of CTC-ARI (Airports) Ltd., operator of commercial shops in both Larnaca and Paphos airports up until May 2031.
The Shacolas Group said in an announcement sent to the Cyprus Stock Exchange that the sale was decided as the investment had matured and would return a good profit to Ermes, with a significant boost to 2014 profitability for the parent company Cyprus Trading Corporation Plc.
According to the same announcement, Aer Rianta’s parent Dublin Airport Authority has asked that the Cypriot retail giant’s chairman, Nicos Shacolas, remain involved with CTC-ARI activities and continue to serve as a goodwill ambassador for the brand.
In January, Ermes Department Stores sold its 25.01% stake in the airports catering company Cyprus Airports (F&B) Ltd., to Air Rianta International (Middle East) WLL in a deal worth €3.125.000. ARI is now be in full control of the company that operates all catering and franchises within Larnaca and Paphos airports, with a 50.02% stake.
The Shacolas Group, through the Cyprus Trading Corporation remaions the biggest local shareholder of Hermes Airports Ltd., operator of the two airports until 2031 and Nicos Shacolas was recently appointed Life Hon. Chairman of the company.
Earlier this week, Ermes Department Stores announced first quarter losses of €586,000, significantly better than the €5.1 mln losses in the first quarter of 2013, despite a marginally lower turnover, but an improved gross profit position that rose from €11.1 mln pre-tax in Q1 2013 to €12.2 mln pre-tax this year.
The company has been lowering costs and beefing up its liquidity and profit margins in a subdued consumer environment, while also selling assets and other operations that have either matured and return a good profit or may be considered non-core.
The group sold significant stakes in other companies last year, including a major stake in the second biggest telecom operator MTN Cyprus and will re-direct its liquidity to long-term tourism projects, such as the ambitious Limni resort and golf course near Polis.
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