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SSP enters Iceland for the first time at Keflavik International Airport

SSP has also developed a bespoke F&B concept for the airport, drawing inspiration from Icelandic landscapes and nature. Called Elda, the unit will offer a seasonal menu – designed by Icelander and master chef, Snorri Victor Gylfason.

SSP, a leading operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations has secured a contract to open two new units at Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland in spring 2023, which will extend SSP’s global presence to 36 countries once operational.

Sense of place was a vital criteria for the client Isavia in awarding this tender, and these two new restaurants showcase the best of Iceland and modern Icelandic dining experiences. Restaurant, Jómfrúin is a favourite among both locals and tourists, having opened 25 years ago in the heart of Reykjavik to offer guests Danish food the Icelandic way. Jómfrúin’s founder, Jakob Jakobsson was the first man in the world to graduate as a ‘smørrebrødsjomfru’ which literally translates to ‘sandwich maiden’. Now, SSP is collaborating closely with Jakob’s son, Jakob Einar Jakobsson to bring the true Jómfruin experience to Keflavik Airport.

The restaurant’s menu will feature a selection of Jómfrúin’s best sellers, with freshly baked rye or sourdough bread in true Scandi, smörgåsbord fashion. Jómfrúin will offer an extensive range of smörrebröd including roast beef béarnaise, the famous Plaice that has been on the menu sense 1996, aquavit-cured salmon and avocado and smoked potatoes with avocado, red onion, tomato and chilli mayo, in addition to some classic Nordic style hot dishes. A breakfast menu will also be available

SSP has also developed a bespoke F&B concept for the airport, drawing inspiration from Icelandic landscapes and nature. Called Elda, the unit will offer a seasonal menu – designed by Icelander and master chef, Snorri Victor Gylfason. The menu is inspired by both local and global street food. Elda will have something to appeal to every diner from breakfast to dinner, and those looking for a snack at all times in between. There will also be a Skyr and smoothie bar as well as a soup and salad bar for those looking for a healthier option. For travellers in a hurry, the grab and go selection is expected to be a popular choice.

In line with SSP and Keflavik International Airport’s sustainability commitments, Elda will source many ingredients locally. The restaurant will span 495 sq.m of lounge-style space, boasting 172 seats in the dining areas and an additional 42 seats in an adjacent terrace. A highlight of the design – inspired by the region’s natural winds, light and ambience – is an impressive, dynamic ceiling installation which creates a show of different light effects throughout the day.

Both of the new units will utilise Order@ technology, allowing guests to order their food for collection on their phones with ease, providing a seamless, ‘phygital’ ordering and dining experience for travellers.

Bente Brevik, Managing Director of SSP Norway, who led the tender on behalf of the Group said; “Iceland is a country of particular importance to us, with the SSP story having begun in Scandinavia over 60 years ago. Keflavik International Airport is a major travel hub, welcoming almost 10 million travellers each year, making our expansion into Iceland a source of enormous pride for us all. These new units are a true homage to the breath-taking landscapes and fresh ingredients for which Iceland is famous while incorporating global flavours to appeal to the airport’s diverse passenger profile. We have every faith that customers will love these new brands just as much as we do.”

Gunnhildur Erla Vilbergsdóttir, Commercial Manager at Isavia said; “We are very much looking forward to beginning this partnership with SSP in Iceland and believe these two new restaurants will be a perfect fit for Keflavik Airport. SSP demonstrated an excellent understanding of our vision to go even further in strengthening the local sense of place for guests at Keflavik Airport, offering them both great quality and value.”

Results for year ended 30 September 2022
Also, SSP Group announced its financial results for the year ended 30 September 2022. A rapid recovery in passenger demand through theb year and disciplined cost management has resulted in SSP delivering a strong set of results. We remain well-positioned to benefit from the continued recovery and further growth of the global travel market over the medium-term.

Financial Overview:

  • Revenue of £2,185.4m (2021: £834.2m), up 162.0% vs 2021 (back to 78% of 2019 level, i.e. pre Covid-19)
  • Underlying1 EBITDA2 of £142.0m compared to an underlying EBITDA loss of £108.3m in 2021 (both on a pre-IFRS 16 basis)
  • Operating profit of £91.5m on a reported basis under IFRS 16, including credit for non-underlying items of £59.8m (2021: £309.2m loss on a reported basis under IFRS 16, including credit for non-underlying items of £14.1m). On a pre-IFRS 16 basis, the underlying operating profit1 was £30.3m (2021: £209.0m loss)
  • Profit before tax of £25.2m on a reported basis under IFRS 16 (2021: £411.2m loss). On a pre-IFRS 16 basis, the underlying loss1 before tax was £6.7m (2021: £251.0m loss)
  • Basic loss per share of 1.3 pence on a reported basis under IFRS 16 (2021: basic loss per share of 51.3 pence). On a pre-IFRS 16 basis, underlying basic loss per share1 of 4.5 pence (2021: underlying basic loss per share of 31.9 pence)
  • Free cash inflow of £52.0m (2021: outflow of £58.1m), after £148.9m capital investment, primarily for new unit openings
  • Net debt of £1,150.7m, which includes lease liabilities of £854.6m. On a pre-IFRS 16 basis, net debt5 of £296.5m, down from £308.0m at 30 September 2021, leaving leverage at 2.1x Net Debt:EBITDA2
  • Liquidity position strong, with cash and undrawn facilities of £708.2m6 at the end of September 2022

Further medium term recovery anticipated
Whilst company continue to face into a high level of macroeconomic uncertainty and ongoing cost inflation and labour availability challenges, "we believe that the travel food and beverage sector will remain structurally  esilient to pressures on consumer spending and that our flexible business model will enable us to actively manage and mitigate these impacts and to deliver further improvements in profitability as the travel sector recovers.

As we look ahead to our 2023 and 2024 financial years, based on the current pace of the recovery of the travel sector, we are planning for a recovery in passenger numbers to between 85% and 90% of 2019 levels in 2023, and between 90% and 95% in 2024. Revenues are expected to include the effect of accumulated inflation between 2019 and 2023 of c.12% and between 2019 and 2024 of c.14%. In addition to this, we expect a benefit from net new contracts as we mobilise our secured pipeline. The overall pipeline of secured net contract gains is currently expected to add c.£550m to annualised revenue by 2025 (compared with 2019), when fully mobilised. Based on our planned opening programme, the pipeline will contribute cumulative net contract gains of c £200m in 2023 and £350-400m in 2024 (compared with 2019).

In total, we are planning for revenues to be in the region of £2.9-3.0bn in 2023 and in the region of £3.2-3.4bn in 2024, with a corresponding EBITDA (pre IFRS 16) in the region of £250-£280m in 2023 and £325-£375m in 2024."

Commenting on the results, Patrick Coveney, CEO of SSP Group, said: “This has been a year of strong recovery for SSP, with momentum building strongly through the second half and into our new financial year. Group revenues are now tracking at 104% of 2019 levels, and as revenues have recovered we have delivered good profits and robust cash flows. SSP is a fabulous business with strong foundations on which to build. The global air and rail travel sectors are set up for long-term structural growth, consumer demand for quality food offerings in travel locations remains strong, and we have significant head room for growth in multiple markets across the world. In particular, we see significant potential for further expansion in North America – a $6bn market in which we currently only have a 10% market share. North America is central to our growth plans, and we envisage it becoming a much bigger part of the Group over the next few years. We are also rapidly building our presence in selected Asia-Pacific markets and continue to expand in a targeted way in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.

As we finish 2022, I would especially like to thank our outstanding colleagues across the world for the enormous contribution that they make to SSP each and every day. The quality of our people, the resilience of our business model, the support of our client, brand and supply partners, and the structural growth in travel demand mean that, despite the current macroeconomic uncertainty, we remain confident in the future growth and returns prospects for SSP.”

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.