Swiss travel retail giant, Dufry, has announced its plan to fully acquire Hudson Ltd, its American counterpart, in a deal valued at approximately $311 million. Dufry already holds a majority stake of 57.4% in Hudson and this acquisition will result in the delisting of Hudson from the New York Stock Exchange. DufryHudson, known for being a leader in the North American “travel experience” sector, operates over 1,000 stores in airports, commuter hubs, landmarks, and tourist destinations. By simplifying its corporate structure through the delisting of Hudson, Dufry aims to align its operations more effectively with the current business environment.

The acquisition by Dufry comes at a challenging time for the duty-free retail sector due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The travel retail industry, which was once thriving, has been heavily impacted by the global decline in tourism and business travel. Not only have duty-free retailers been affected, but high-end accessories and beauty products have also experienced a decline in sales. Fragrances, skincare items, and cosmetics, which are typically popular purchases in airport and travel shopping, have faced challenges due to the reduction in passenger numbers. Similarly, fashion accessories and holiday clothing such as bags, small leather goods, scarves, swimwear, watches, and jewelry have remained unsold since the implementation of lockdown measures. Despite the easing of travel restrictions, travel retail sales are still significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Dufry’s decision to acquire the remaining shares of Hudson reflects their confidence in the recovery and future growth of the travel retail sector. Through consolidating their ownership of Hudson, Dufry aims to streamline their operations and position themselves to capitalize on the eventual rebound in global travel. The strategic move to delist Hudson and simplify the corporate structure highlights Dufry’s commitment to adapting to the ever-changing business landscape. With the fully underwritten rights issue, Dufry has secured the funds necessary to complete the transaction, demonstrating their belief in the long-term potential of travel retail.

As the world gradually returns to normal and travel patterns begin to recover, it remains uncertain how the travel retail sector will bounce back. However, Dufry’s acquisition of Hudson could serve as a pivotal moment in the industry’s recovery, positioning Dufry as a key player in the post-pandemic travel retail landscape. With its extensive network of stores and expertise in the sector, Dufry is well-equipped to navigate the challenges and emerge stronger in the future.

Additional Links:
1. Dufry Official Website
2. Hudson Ltd Official Website