FLIGHT CENTRE STAMPS ITS MARK ON EUROPE

Written on the 27 September 2016

FLIGHT CENTRE STAMPS ITS MARK ON EUROPE

FLIGHT Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT) has spread its wings across Europe, after acquiring a string of corporate travel businesses.

The Brisbane-based company has secured a presence in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany, after striking a deal with online travel agency eDreams ODIGEO.

The acquired businesses are expected to turnover more than $160 million in FY17.

It follows Flight Centre's expansion to the Netherlands earlier this year, as well as the addition of corporate travel businesses in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Mexico.

Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner says the acquisition reinforces the company's strategic focus on the business market.

The travel retailer recently acquired a 49 per cent stake in Gold Coast-based business Ignite Travel Group to bolster its presence in the domestic market.

"Corporate travel is one of our six key growth sectors for the medium to long-term," Turner says.

"We are already one of the world's largest corporate travel managers - turnover exceeded $6 billion during the fiscal year - but we see strong future prospects within the sector and are expanding internationally both organically and via strategic acquisitions.

"While these new additions to our network are relatively small, they are profitable and give Flight Centre a company-owned presence in five key corporate travel markets within Europe, along with a platform for further corporate travel expansion.

"By having company-owned businesses in these important markets, we also gain greater control over the service offering we deliver to local, national and multi-national clients."

Flight Centre has also acquired a proprietary online booking tool as part of the deal. The platform has the potential to be rolled out across SME-focused Corporate Traveller and Flight Centre Business Travel brands in Europe.

Managing director Bodil Mansson will continue to run the business and report to Flight Centre's corporate travel leader in Europe and Africa Steve Norris.

Europe is Flight Centre's largest profit contributor outside of Australia, with the combined UK, Ireland and Netherlands businesses contributing $47.2 million to group earnings last financial year.

The acquisition is expected to be completed later this year.

 


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