Gate Gourmet acquires deSter

Gate Gourmet has reached an agreement to acquire deSter Holding BV of Amsterdam, the world’s leading supplier of airline passenger contact and comfort items, such as cutlery, chinaware and amenity kitsdeSter also owns Supplair, the leading provider of alternative airline meal solutions assembled off-airport.

Private equity fund group EQT has owned deSter since 1999. The company, which had sales of euro 235 million in 2006, has operations on three continents and over 350 airlines as customers.

Since its successful restructuring and refinancings, Gate Gourmet has focused on a business model that goes beyond traditional catering and logistics to include a broader range of inflight solutions for airlines.

“We are building a best-in-class portfolio that offers the full array of inflight products and services to our customers, and the addition of deSter will propel Gate Gourmet forward in that strategy,” said David Siegel, Chairman and CEO. “This transaction, and others recently announced, is a clear signal that Gate Gourmet is healthy, growing and open for business as the global pacesetter of airline inflight solutions.”

Siegel said the acquisition of deSter and its sub-brands demonstrates the company’s commitment to meet customers’ needs. “Airlines have told us they want flexibility, innovation and alternative options. Our evolving business line will offer exactly that,” he said.


“The addition of Supplair is an important extension for Gate Gourmet. By offering airlines a competing option to its traditional on-airport food preparation model, Gate Gourmet is demonstrating its commitment to serve customers across the spectrum of their needs,” Siegel said. “In addition, combining Supplair with Gate Gourmet’s logistics and handling capabilities in the ‘last mile to the airplane’ puts Gate Gourmet in a unique position to better serve the rapidly growing low-cost carrier market,” he explained.

The transaction, for which details were not disclosed, is subject to review by competition authorities in various jurisdictions around the world.

deSter was founded in 1936 and employs approximately 1,000 employees. It operates assembly units and warehouses throughout Europe and the U.S. and has production facilities in Hoogstraten, Belgium, and Prachinburi, Thailand.

  The company offers four industry-leading brands:

  —deSter designs and produces reusable and disposable plastic airline and
    retail contact items such as trays, glasses and cutlery. The two
    factories supply items for the deSter brand.

  —Virtuoso focuses on higher end chinaware and contact items for premium
    class cabins.

  —Harmony provides a full range of comfort items, including amenity kits
    with strong brand name contents, as well as hygiene and gift items.
Supplair offers value and convenience with branded, packaged food components assembled at central production units in Europe and the U.S. It also offers supply chain management, warehousing and distribution facilities and product sourcing and service concept development.

“We intend to take advantage of synergies between the deSter brands and businesses we already own or have recently acquired,” Siegel said. For instance, the design and packaging capabilities within deSter and those of recent acquisitions Packattack and POTM of the Netherlands complement each other, as do Gate Gourmet’s FiveOceans subsidiary and Harmony.

“Our goal is to be flexible, nimble and responsive to our customers’ varying requirements. This transaction goes a long way to accomplish that,” Siegel said. “deSter’s employees brings a wealth of talent, experience and creativity to the company, and we are very excited to welcome them to the Gate Gourmet family,” he added.