Travelhouse Hotelplan

Travelhouse Group

The Deal

A shared future for Hotelplan and Travelhouse.

The Hotelplan Group has acquired a majority stake in the Travelhouse Group, comprising ten specialist tour operators and a chain of retail outlets. This transaction creates the largest outbound tour operating group in Switzerland, the Hotelplan Group’s core market. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

The Background

The Travelhouse Group, known prior to January 1st 2005 as the “Reisebaumeister Group”, is an independent travel business employing 380 people and, with a consolidated turnover of 264.8 million Swiss Francs (243.4 million Swiss Francs using the “European method”, it is the fourth largest tour operator in Switzerland. Its specialist tour operators, united by the Travelhouse umbrella brand, concentrate on specific regions or countries: Africantrails (South and East Africa), Caribtours (the Caribbean), Falcontravel (Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Scandinavia), Inditours (India), Oceanstar (Polar trips, cruises), Salinatours (Central and South America), Sierramar (Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece and Morocco), Skytours (USA, Alaska, Canada and Oceania), Soleytours (the Indian Ocean and Middle East) and Wettstein (Asia). The Group also operates 16 of its own travel agencies and an air ticket consolidator. Travelhouse’s travel specialists enjoy an excellent reputation with both travellers and travel agents, holding a leading position for their particular destinations in the Swiss market.

The successful travel company will continue to operate independently as an autonomous organisation and will be run as a separate business unit of the Hotelplan Group. The cofounder and Chairman of the Board, Oskar Laubi and the CEO, Thomas Stirnimann, will remain shareholders and members of the Travelhouse Board. CEO Thomas Stirnimann will remain based at the company’s existing offices in Zurich, along with current staff, and will report directly to the CEO of the Hotelplan Group, Christof Zuber. Peter Diethelm, Board Member and financial investor, has sold his stake and is no longer a shareholder.

The transaction is expected to close in the middle of December 2006, subject to the approval of the Competition Commission. Neither party will disclose any information regarding the purchase price.

The Team

The Corporate Finance Team consisted of Stephan Hitz, Engagement Partner and Roland Keusch from Hitz & Partner Corporate Finance as well as PD Dr Hans Rudolf Trüeb, Stephan Neidhardt and Peter Spori, lawyers from Prager Dreifuss attorneys at law.

Quote by Oskar Laubi, cofounder and Chairman of the Board of the Travelhouse Group:

With Hotelplan as the majority shareholder, the Travelhouse Group will retain its independent market image and corporate structure. This will form the basis for sustained and successful future development within a Swiss consortium“.

Quote by Christof Zuber, CEO of the Hotelplan Group:

The addition of Travelhouse is a strategic move in Switzerland, our primary market. This portfolio of specialists will enable us to fulfil many more of our customers’ wishes. Thanks to our broader product range, we will be an even more attractive partner for independent travel agents in Switzerland“.

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