Lufthansa (LH, Frankfurt International) has sold the rest of its inflight catering business LSG Group to pan-European, Munich-based private equity firm Aurelius Group, enabling the airline “to focus even more on further improving the profitability and capital returns of the Lufthansa Group core business,” it announced in a statement. The European activities of LSG Sky Chefs were sold to Swiss-based gategroup in 2019.

The divestment of the catering unit is part of Lufthansa Group’s “strategy to focus more on its airline business in the future,” it elaborated. Aurelius agreed to acquire it for an undisclosed sum, in a transaction expected to close by the third quarter of this year. The transaction is expected to have a positive effect on the group’s finances, it added.

Sources told Bloomberg News last November that Lufthansa was negotiating to sell the remaining part of LSG Sky Chefs to Aurelius with a deal expected within weeks, though cautioning that the talks could be delayed.

The carve-out transaction (these often add complexity and cost to a divestment as they involve an interdependence between the business being sold and the other retained entities) includes all of the catering, onboard retail, and food commerce activities of LSG Group, together with all 131 LSG Sky Chefs customer service centres in the Americas, the Asia-Pacific region, and emerging markets.

It also involves onboard retail firm Retail InMotion, based in Europe, and SCIS Air Security Services in the United States. The deal combines a total of around 19,000 employees worldwide and 36 joint ventures across the globe, Lufthansa said.

According to Bloomberg, Lufthansa had been looking for a buyer for LSG Sky Chefs for years as demand for short-haul routes outstripped that for longer flights; many passengers tend to skip catering on short-haul routes. Now, however, the outlook for aviation “is brightening with the global aviation market recovering to travel levels seen before the pandemic,” Aurelius said in the statement.