Completion of the Gate Gourmet Sale Process

ZURICH AIRPORT, Switzerland, Dec. 20, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Gate Gourmet is pleased to announce the finalization of the sale process. Swissair Group has completed the previously announced sale of Gate Gourmet to Texas Pacific Group, a leading global private equity firm. The takeover has immediate effect.

After the definitive purchase agreement, announced on March 26, 2002 and the approvals from the remaining nonSwiss creditors on September 2, 2002, the deal has received formal clearance from the courts in New York, Amsterdam and Zurich, including all competition authorities. Consequently, Swissair Group has now transferred its Gate Gourmet shares to Texas Pacific Group (TPG).

"We are very upbeat to have reached the end of the sale process -- a process that has occupied a lot of energy and management resources for more than a year," said Henning Boysen, President and CEO of Gate Gourmet since 1996. "We can now again fully focus on our customers and stakeholders who have kept their trust and belief in Gate Gourmet during these difficult and turbulent times. I am personally grateful to all our employees worldwide for their loyalty and dedication over the past year. The gained positive experience with our stakeholders makes me firmly believe that we are heading for a bright future," Boysen continued.

Both Gate Gourmet management and Texas Pacific Group believe that the airline catering business is an excellent investment opportunity. Through a combination of strategic acquisitions and organic growth, Gate Gourmet should experience continued success. "We view Gate Gourmet as an excellent company with a superior management team, a strong international position, and good growth prospects," said Andrew Dechet, partner at TPG. "As a leader in the airline catering sector, we believe the company will benefit from a recovery in the airline industry. Further, TPG's experience and relationships within the industry should provide additional advantages for growth as an independent company."

Chairman Ivar Samren stresses the knowledge within Gate Gourmet: "During the past difficult year, all key people stayed in their function and assured Gate Gourmet's top position in the global market. The company's inhouse knowledge guarantees our partners, the airlines, continued quality products and services in order to strengthen their competitive edge," said Samren, who has been in the airline catering business for 18 years, first as a CEO of SAS Service Partner (acquired by Gate Gourmet in 1994) and then on the Gate Gourmet board.

All executive management will continue under Henning Boysen's leadership. Gate Gourmet's headquarters will remain in Zurich, Switzerland.

Gate Gourmet is a leading airline catering company. Its turnover in 2001 amounted to CHF 3.3 billion. With the world's most important airlines among its customers, Gate Gourmet produces over 208 million meals per year and employs a staff of about 25,000 in its 140 flight kitchens. The international enterprise is located in 31 countries on all continents and comprises also egatematrix, Gatesafe and FiveOceans Inflight.

Texas Pacific Group, founded in 1993 and based in Texas, San Francisco and London, is a private investment partnership with a capital of more than 8 billion USD. The group was an early investor in the airline industry and led the turnarounds of both Continental Airlines and America West. The partnership has also made significant investments across Europe and the USA in a broad range of industries, including consumer services/products (Punch Taverns, Del Monte, Beringer Wines), luxury goods (Ducati, J.Crew), technology (Seagate, ON Semiconductor, Gemplus) and healthcare services (Oxford Health Plans).


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