TUI’s travel unit merges with First Choice

TUI is merging Britain’s First Choice with its tourism division to create TUI Travel PC and boost its position as Europe’s biggest travel firm.
The TUI-First Choice merger will create a tourism group with revenues of about £12 billion ($23.4 billion). It will have some 27 million customers in 20 markets and serve over 200 destinations.

The new unit will be headquartered in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange. The deal is due to be completed in the third quarter of 2007.

The new company will be 51 percent-owned by TUI and 49 percent by First Choice and will try to deliver cost benefits of at least £100 million within three years of completion.

The new TUI Travel PLC will be chaired by Michael Frenzel who currently resides as the CEO of TUI, while First Choice’s chairman Sir Mike Hodgkinson and CEO Peter Long will become deputy chairman and chief executive respectively of the new group.

First Choice finance director Paul Botwell will hold the position of CFO at TUI Travel PLC, while TUI’s Peter Rothwell will become deputy CEO.