• Tcr
    TCR
    Benelux

    Transport & logistics

    Overview

    Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, TCR is Europe’s largest independent asset manager of airport ground support equipment (“GSE”) and operates at 164 airports.

    Since inception, TCR has defined the market for leased GSE, providing high quality assets and a full service leasing, maintenance and fleet management offering to its clients, which are predominantly independent ground handling companies, airlines and airports. This enables GSE operators to concentrate on their core business of ground handling. The GSE that TCR provides is critical infrastructure, without which some of Europe’s busiest airports could not operate.

    Aerolima acquisition

    In 2019, TCR acquired Aerolima, another lessor of GSE in France. The transaction added approximately 2,000 pieces of equipment, 20 airports and 12 workshops to TCR’s existing business.

    Recent developments

    TCR’s good performance in the year continues to evidence the resilience of its business model. Despite further travel restrictions during the winter season, TCR performed ahead of our expectations, although equipment off lease is still above pre-Covid levels. Its footprint has continued to grow, now covering 164 airports globally. New contracts were signed in the year, including with important new customers such as Finnair and Gate Gourmet as well as more recent sale and rent back contracts in Europe and Australia.

    TCR has a very active pipeline of new projects with a variety of airlines, airports and ground handlers, confirming our thesis that the Covid-induced crisis in the aviation industry should increase the attractiveness of the leasing model for GSE.

    Investment rationale

    TCR fits with the Company’s strategy of investing in companies with good asset backing, strong market positions and barriers to entry, yet with operational levers to achieve attractive returns for shareholders through active asset management:

    • GSE is a scarce resource that is critical to the functioning of an airport; through first mover advantage, TCR has benefited from securing the largest independent GSE fleet in Europe. TCR has access to maintenance workshops in prime locations at airports, many of which are located airside. This means that a high quality maintenance and asset management service can be provided, resulting in high availability of TCR’s fleet.
    • TCR is able to offer full-service rentals on a pan-European basis. This creates competitive advantages against competitors, which tend to offer either dry leases or only repair and maintenance services. TCR’s network means it can offer pan-European solutions at multiple locations, matching the footprints of its customers.
    • Outsourcing ownership of GSE equipment makes economic sense for independent ground handlers, as it allows them to manage the mismatch between short-term handling contracts and the typically 10-15 year useful life of equipment.
    • TCR’s rental contracts are aligned with the ground handlers’ contracts with the airlines and are typically 3-5 years in duration. TCR has experienced a high level of contract renewal.
    • The business has a diversified portfolio and is present at over 100 airports across 12 countries with a diverse contract and customer base meaning the revenues of the business are not materially reliant on a single client or geography. 
    • The investment will provide exposure to the long-term growth in the aviation market, which is fundamentally GDP driven, yet it is expected to be insulated from short-term shocks to demand due to its exposure to aircraft movements rather than passenger numbers.

    Sustainability

    Despite the Covid-19 crisis, the aviation industry continues its path towards a more environmentally sustainable model. In that context, TCR has developed its own sustainability strategy aiming to mitigate its direct impact on climate change, and through helping its customers reduce their emissions by supporting the transition to green ground support equipment (‘GSE’) including electric vehicles, pooling initiatives, and the roll-out of telematics on GSE, which contribute to optimising GSE fleet sizes and therefore lower total emissions.