Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd. has acquired a majority shareholding in Russian-based tour operator UTE Megapolus, the specialist provider of high-quality leisure travel products and services for a more affluent clientele. Under the transaction, Kuoni has acquired 80% of the share capital, while the remaining 20% remains in the ownership of the company’s founding shareholders. Eduard Kuznetsov, the company CEO and former majority shareholder, will remain in overall executive charge. The corresponding takeover agreements were signed on June 29.
The transaction is subject to the approval of the Russian competition authorities, which are expected to consider the takeover in the next few weeks.
“UTE Megapolus”, which has its head office in Moscow, generated total turnover of CHF 51 million last year with a workforce of around 200 personnel. The company maintains four sales offices in Moscow and a further sales outlet in Nizhny Novgorod.
Operating under the “UTE Megapolus” brand, the company is a leading provider of ski vacation products for the Alpine region. Further key elements in its product portfolio include high-quality beach holidays in Greece and Croatia, along with India and China travel programmes.
“UTE Megapolus” has won several awards within the Russian leisure travel sector for its branding and the quality of its services over the past few years. The company distributes its products via its own sales offices and through independent travel agencies.
Eduard Kuznetsov, the company’s founder and former majority shareholder, will remain as CEO. He will report to Fons Brusselmans, Head of Business Unit “Spirit”, within the Kuoni organisation. All the present UTE Megapolus employees will continue to work for the company. The parties agreed not to divulge the purchase price involved.
The Russian tour operating market is still fairly young and unconsolidated. It has, however, seen growth of some 10-15% over the past few years. In collaboration with Kuoni, “UTE Megapolus” is now excellently positioned to play a full and fruitful part in the market’s further rapid expansion.
“The Russian leisure travel market has tremendous further potential,” says Kuoni Group CEO Armin Meier, “especially in the field of providing high-quality travel products for more affluent customers.
So this acquisition fits exactly into our strategy of achieving further business growth, especially in specialist segments.”