Finnair and the Finnish wine and spirits house Altia Corporation signed the Shareholders’ Agreement on Friday on the founding of a new joint venture company. Finnair will move its wine wholesale operations to the new SkyCellar Oy company. Altia will own 80,1 percent of the company with Finnair Catering, which belongs to Finnair Group, owning the remaining 19,9 percent. The arrangements require the approval of the Finnish Competition Authority.
SkyCellar will continue to supply Finnair with its acclaimed wines as Finnair Catering’s subcontractor.
“With this arrangement we are improving the cost-effectiveness of our wine supply while maintaining our high quality and delivery reliability. A partnership with one of the leading companies in the field will strengthen our image as an airline serving quality wines,” says Finnair President and CEO Keijo Suila.
“The arrangement enables the expansion of Altia’s operations to a new and demanding customer segment. The basis of operations will be to continue Finnair’s high quality wine policy. A small number of Altia’s wine representations will go to SkyCellar and thus we will get our top products a natural means of distribution. SkyCellar also expands Altia’s scope in tax-free sales. The arrangement supports our goal to be the best partner in terms of quality and reliability and this in turn strengthens our position as the leading Finnish wine and spirits house, says Altia President and CEO Veikko Kasurinen.
Former SVP of Finnair Ground Handling and Catering Kari Palomäki will be appointed as Managing Director of SkyCellar Oy. The new company will begin operations in spring 2003. At the start of operations, the turnover of the new company is expected to be approximately thirteen million euro and its staff to number ten persons.
Finnair is Finland’s travel industry leader, with core operations consisting of scheduled passenger traffic, leisure traffic, cargo and travel agencies. Its flight operations are supported by catering, technical and ground handling services, which are known for their quality. 25-40% of their capacity is sold outside the Finnair Group.
Altia is the leading Finnish wine and spirits house, with traditions reaching back to 1888 when the first factory was established at Rajamäki. Altia produces, imports and markets strong alcoholic beverages and wines. The bases of its product range are Finnish spirits as well as quality-cost effective wines bottled in Finland. The company represents several well-known international brands in Finland and the Baltic Sea region. Altia is owned by the Finnish State.