GED private equity firm buys Travel House

Few weeks after the acquisition of, Spain-based private equity firm GED expands its reach into the Romanian travel industry by acquiring a majority stake in Travel House, company specialized in providing business travel services and national and international deluxe leisure travel.
The transaction is part of the PE firm’s strategy to become the largest tour operator company in the country able to offer corporate, online, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions) and leisure services.

The project will be carried on together with Corina Souvannasouck, one of the former owners of Travel House who will remain as a minority shareholder and will join the group as executive director.

Travel House, that reported a turnover of more than €6 million and a net profit of over €110,000 is complementing the corporate travel service range of Happy Tour by targeting different segments of companies and consolidates deluxe leisure travel.

Travel House will keep its name and management structure. With this acquisition Happy Tour is leading the consolidation process that the Romanian travel industry is experiencing.

“After analyzing the strategic goals of Travel House, the best for our clients and all the details of the transaction, we considered that the company would definitely be in a better position to take advantage of the potential recovery of the market situation being part of a more ambitious project and a bigger group. We believe that the Romanian market will experience a consolidation and we wanted to lead the process”, said Corina Souvannasouck.

After the integration, the new Group will be the first in Romania able to offer integrated travel services to its clients by providing all corporate (Happy Tour), MICE (Happy Tour/Travel House), vacation (Travel House) and online services (Paravion). “The goal is to cover all necessities of our clients providing them with the best products and services by different specialists to their maximum satisfaction”, said the representatives of the company.

From the organizational point of view, the group will be led by Javier Garcia del Valle, executive vice president of Happy Tour, while Remus Visan and Corina Souvannasouck, managers of Paravion and Travel House respectively and as minority shareholders, assuring the continuity of the services provided till now by each of the companies and showing their strong commitment with the project.

“During the first quarter of 2010, we perceived some signs of recovery in the consumption of travel services and our goal is to be prepared to offer to our clients the best quality services of the market and to cover all their needs. With this new acquisition, we made another big step forward to improve our offer and to reinforce our capabilities, especially our leisure department, proving again that Happy Tour has a decided commitment to grow and become the clear market leader not only on the Corporate Travel segment but in the tourism sector in Romania” said Javier Garcia del Valle (photo), executive vice president from Happy Tour.

The transaction is subject to Competition Council approval, with the expected closing in the second part of June.

Happy Tour is part of the GED portfolio of eight companies in Eastern Europe out of which seven companies are located in Romania (Happy Tour, Diamedix, Total Energy Business, Rosegur, Fonomat, Infopress and RED).

GED is one of the largest private equity firms in South-East Europe.

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