European private equity firm PAI Partners has made a €1.542bn ($1.718bn) binding offer to purchase France-based Elior Group’s concession catering operations Areas.

This deal follows the recent confirmation from Elior that it is in talks with PAI Partners relating to the potential sale of Areas in March this year.

Areas offers concession catering services to customers across airports, railways, motorways, and city and leisure domains in 13 countries globally and employs 23,000 people across its operations. It generated €1.83bn in revenue in fiscal 2017-18.

The catering group will conduct required information-consultation procedure with its employee representative bodies in the coming weeks required for a definitive sale agreement.

“PAI Partners’s project would enable Areas, which is the world’s third-leading concession caterer, to accelerate growth.”

Elior Group CEO Philippe Guillemot said: “PAI Partners’s project would enable Areas, which is the world’s third-leading concession caterer, to accelerate growth.

“Following the disposal the group would focus entirely on its contract catering and services businesses in order to reinforce its leading positions in Europe, and accelerate its development in the US and India.”

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Completion of the deal is currently subject to satisfaction of customary conditions. It is expected to close during the middle of this year.

In addition, proceeds from the transaction would be used to reduce the catering group’s leverage ratio to a range between 1.5 and 2.0 times EBITDA.

The group will provide resources required to the rescaled to expand the business, buy back its own shares or distribute dividends to its shareholders.