Autogrill eyes foreign growth with business split

MILAN, March 7 Thu Mar 7, 2013 8:14am EST

MILAN, March 7 (Reuters) - Italy's Autogrill, the world's biggest airport retailer, is looking to boost its presence on foreign markets by splitting its business in two after sales in its domestic market dropped in 2012.

The company, which operates in airports and motorways across 38 countries, said in February it was studying a reorganisation that could help revive its main food operations and lead to a merger for the retail division.

"The operation would allow every business to perfectly develop their own strategies," Chief Executive Gianmario Tondato Da Ruos said in the results' statement.

Shares in Autogrill turned negative after the results and were up 2 percent at 1310 GMT.

Autogrill, controlled by Italy's Benetton family whose business empire also includes motorway operator Atlantia , said on Thursday 2012 sales rose 4 percent to around 6 billion euros, helped by Americas, Britain and the Middle East.

The company had forecast full-year revenues at around 6.1 billion euros in 2012. (Reporting by Antonella Ciancio, editing by Stephen Jewkes)

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