Barclays Ventures has realised its investment in the Med Hotels holiday group via a £16.1m trade sale to lastminute.com. The group includes Med Hotels, a hotel consolidator, and travel agency Travel Bargains. The acquirer will pay an additional sum of up to £6.5m depending on EBITDA performance in 2003 to 2005.
Travel Bargains was formed in January 2001 as a call centre-based travel agency retailing holiday packages to UK travellers. Med Hotels, a hotel consolidator, was formed the following year and offers access to over 1500 resort-based properties providing net rate allocations without commitment. Its main areas of activity are Spain, the Canaries, Cyprus, Tunisia and Portugal. The company has grown substantially during the past two years, offering hotel product principally to trade customers in the UK and Germany. Last year the group’s sales were £38.6m, gross profit of £5.3m and EBITDA of £100,000. Med Hotels employs 117 people, 112 based in Woking in the UK and five in overseas offices.
Khilan Dodhia, investment director at Barclays Ventures, said: “Self-packaging has emerged as a high growth sector in the travel industry. The rise of low cost scheduled and charter airlines coupled with consumers increasing willingness to book travel components online means that Med Hotels is a business perfectly positioned to capitalise on these market trends.” Barclays Ventures’ other investments in the travel sector include Esprit Holidays and Iglu.com.
Lastminute.com provides travel and leisure solutions online. The acquisition will be funded with £8m in cash and the issue of 2,941,176 new shares in lastminute.com plc. The current CEO of Med Hotels will continue with the group.