Dublin-based ASL Aviation's footprint is set to expand significantly after it agreed to buy TNT's airline logistics service, as the Dutch firm moves to ensure a €5.1bn offer by UPS to buy the parent isn't scuppered.
ASL operates charter flights and cargo services around Europe. It is owned by Belgium-based Compagnie Maritime Belge and 3P Air Freighters, which is controlled by Belgian investment firm Petercam.
ASL is buying TNT Airways, based in Belgium, and TNT's Pan Air Lineas Aereas unit that's based in Spain. ASL already operates 90 aircraft through a number of different units.
It declined to say how much it will pay for the TNT division.
US-based UPS announced in March that it had tabled a €5.1bn offer for TNT Express. But the completion date for the takeover has been delayed twice as the two firms seek to remedy any competition concerns.
"This is an important step towards completion of the proposed UPS-TNT Express merger and a positive outcome for the airline employees," said TNT Express interim chief executive Bernard Bot.
He said that TNT had found a new ownership and control structure that secures the future of its two airline units, ensures service continuity and safeguards jobs at a major TNT hub in Liege, Belgium.
Profits at ASL Aviation more than doubled last year to €39.5m as revenue at the group climbed 20pc to €407m.
ASL already has three operating units.
It acquired South Africa-based Safair in 2010 from Denis O'Brien's Aergo Capital for an undisclosed sum.
Aergo had bought Safair in 2008 for $80m (€62m).