Travel Retail operator Dufry has agreed a deal to acquire its rival The Nuance Group for CHF1.55bn (US$1.73bn).

The Switzerland-based group said today (4 June) it has entered an agreement to take control of 100% of Nuance, also based in Switzerland. The deal remains subject to regulatory approvals, but is expected to close by September. 

Dufry said the combined entity will give the company 15% worldwide market share in the airport retail industry. In total, the group would have around 1,750 stores in 239 airports, in 63 countries, it said. Nuance is currently the sixth largest duty-free and Travel Retail group by sales volumes. 

Both groups operate in the alcohol segment. 

Dufry said Nuance’s business is “complementary” with its operations in the Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, as well as the US and Canada. 

Julian Diaz, Dufry’s CEO, said: “The acquisition of The Nuance Group by Dufry is a transformational deal not only for Dufry, but also for the Travel Retail industry.” 

He added: "We have identified substantial synergy potential in the acquired business mainly from gross profit margin improvements and cost synergies.

"Overall, we expect synergies at Nuance level to be generated starting in 2015, with a full impact of CHF70m starting in the financial year 2016.”