Ebookers.com, the Nasdaq and Neuer Markt-listed travel company, is considering an additional London listing and further expansion in Europe.
Dinesh Dhamija, Ebookers chairman and chief executive, is considering applying for a London listing to raise the profile of the European travel agency which has operations in 11 different countries. The listing could take place within the next few months but no official announcement has been made, said a spokesman. Ebookers, which aims to be cashflow positive at the end of this year, is unlikely to use the listing to raise new funds.
The online business, regarded as Europe’s biggest online travel firm by revenues - in year 2000 estimated to be USD200m - offers a range of travel products and services, including negotiated discount airfares with 120 airlines. It also offers hotel discounts and last week signed an agreement with US car hire group Alamo Rent A Car, enabling it to offer discount negotiated rates on car hire services for the USA and Canada.
Ebookers originated as a technology and travel spin-off from Flightbookers plc, the London-based travel agency founded in 1980 in 80sq ft in Earls Court, London. In 1996 Flightbookers became the first travel company to establish an interactive website in the UK. Ebookers.com became a separate internet company in June 1999. It completed its IPO in November 1999, listing in the US on Nasdaq and the Frankfurt-based Neuer Markt in Germany. In October 2000 it bought its offline parent Flightbookers for USD15m.
Ebookers, which has a market capitalisation on Nasdaq of USD90m, is looking at further expansion in Europe. A spokesman said that it is building up its European presence by local acquisitions throughout Europe and Scandinavia. It already employs 300 people across Europe including 40 people in a 24x7 call centre. “It is valued for its pan-European reach. Ebookers has a lot to offer partners, particularly those in the US, in terms of cutting through 11 different legal frameworks and 20 different languages,” said the spokesman.