EQT Infrastructure offloads stake in Unilode Aviation Solutions

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The EQT Infrastructure II fund has agreed to sell Unilode Aviation Solutions to Basalt Infrastructure Partners, an independent infrastructure investment firm with a transatlantic focus on mid-market infrastructure.

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Unilode Aviation Solutions is the global market leader in specialty aviation infrastructure leasing. The company owns and manages a fleet of 145,000 Unit Load Devices (ULD) that are provided under long-term, full-service leasing agreements to airlines and cargo carriers. ULDs are mission critical containers and pallets used for the transportation of baggage and cargo on aircraft. The company operates a global network of service centers that offer a wide array of infrastructure servicing solutions for ULDs and galley carts. The company launched short-term ULD leasing and digital solutions providing tangible internal benefits and high value-add for its customers, based on equipping ULDs with multi-sensor Bluetooth tags combined with a global interoperable reader infrastructure.

EQT Infrastructure acquired CHEP Aerospace Solutions from the global supply-chain logistics provider Brambles in 2016. Following a corporate carve-out and rebranding to Unilode, EQT Infrastructure initiated a transformative growth journey which allowed the company to achieve a 100 percent renewal rate in full-service leasing and achieve several major new customers acquisitions.

In addition to steadily broadening its customer base and growing organically, Unilode has expanded its global footprint and opened new service centers in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Under EQT Infrastructure's ownership, Unilode also ventured into adjacent areas by introducing a short-term leasing offering in 2019 as natural extension and growth complement to its core product offering. Moreover, the company launched an award-winning digital solution with the support of EQT's in-house digital team, with Unilode operating the world's largest IoT-enabled ULD fleet.

Ulrich Köllensperger, partner within EQT Infrastructure's Advisory Team, said, "Unilode is a great example of EQT's value creation strategy. Under the leadership of a new management team and a complementary industrial board we have made significant investments into the Company and implemented a customer centricity and operational focused value creation plan. Unilode's growth story is underpinned by strong megatrends such as the sharing economy and digitization and the mission criticality of its offering has been proven during Covid-19 when the business has shown strong resilience. We wish the company, management, and all its employees every success in the future."

Benoit Dumont, CEO of Unilode, said, "I joined Unilode because I shared the vision of EQT to create the undisputed global market leader in ULD management. Under EQT's ownership, we have significantly scaled the business, expanded our customer base and product offering and introduced an award-winning digital solution providing unprecedented insights and visibility for the air cargo supply chain. I see substantial further growth potential in the years to come driven by a new outsourcing wave currently emerging and supported by our pooling synergies and state-of-the art digital infrastructure."

The transaction is expected to close during Q3 2021.


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