Flight Centre continues expansion in Europe

FlightCentreTravel group, Flight Centre, has expanded its corporate footprint in continental Europe and has secured a presence in five countries after buying the European online travel agency eDreams ODIGEO for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition of eDreams’ corporate business will secure a presence for Flight Centre in five countries: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Germany. As part of the acquisition, Flight Centre has also secured a proprietary online booking tool which can potentially be rolled out within the SME-focussed Corporate Traveller and Flight Centre Business Travel brands elsewhere in Europe, as part of a lower cost corporate travel offering.

Graham Turner, company managing director, said the acquisition was aligned to the company’s global strategy of fast-tracking growth in corporate travel.

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

“We are already one of the world’s largest corporate travel managers – turnover exceeded A$6 billion during the 2016 fiscal year – but we see strong future prospects within the sector and are expanding internationally both organically and via strategic acquisitions.”

Flight Centre also has a presence in Ireland (May 2014) and the Netherlands (March 2016), and has also recently acquired corporate travel businesses in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Mexico during the 2016 fiscal year.

Turner said that while the new additions to their network are relatively small, they are profitable and will give Flight Centre a company-owned presence in five key corporate travel markets within Europe, along with a platform for further corporate travel expansion.

During the 2016 fiscal year, the combined UK, Ireland and Netherlands businesses turned over a record A$2.2 billion and contributed A$47.2 million to the group’s earnings before interest and tax.

The acquired businesses are expected to turnover about €110million during their 2017 fiscal year.

The acquisition, which will be cash-funded, is expected to be formally completed late in the first half of the 2017 fiscal year.

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