, the leading global distribution system (GDS) and technology provider, today announced it has acquired SAS Group`s 95 per cent shareholding in SMART AB (“SMART”) for some EUR 109.0 million, including performance payments based on future booking levels over the next ten years.
This gives Amadeus 100 per cent ownership of SMART, where previously it had a 5 per cent shareholding in the company.
SMART is the Amadeus National Marketing Company (NMC) for Scandinavia, Latvia and Lithuania. This represents the fifth largest market for Amadeus worldwide and one with a significant component of business travel, an area in which SMART excels.
In the provision of corporate travel management solutions, SMART is the strongest player in Europe with more than 500 corporate customers and ambitious growth plans.
While SMART was not a long-term core business for the SAS Group, it represents an excellent strategic fit for Amadeus, given its commitment to serving travel agents and experience in selling corporate booking tools. SMART`s business has significant development potential and brings Amadeus a wealth of additional corporate travel management expertise. Under Amadeus ownership, SMART will continue to focus on the travel distribution needs of travel agents, local travel providers and corporations.
Following completion of the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to close by the end of August 2002, SMART will trade as Amadeus Scandinavia. The new company branding and identity will be introduced across the region in the coming months. Mats Mitsell, Chief Executive Officer, will continue to lead the business, supported by the present management team. SMART will retain its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and its regional offices in Norway, Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania. Overall, SMART has some 230 employees.
Jorgen Lindegaard, CEO of SAS Group commented: “As SMART was not a long-term strategic shareholding for the SAS Group, we are pleased to have reached agreement for Amadeus to acquire our shareholding in the business, in order to support and secure the future development of SMART. We will maintain our continued strong commercial relations with Amadeus, especially as travel agencies play an important part in our ongoing distribution strategy.”
“SMART operates in a region of great strategic importance for Amadeus”, said David V. Jones, Executive Vice President Commercial for Amadeus. “We have a clear policy of supporting travel agents, within the travel distribution chain, so full ownership of SMART is a very logical step for us. We also look forward to continuing our close working relationship with SAS Group.”
“SMART has a strong record of delivering IT solutions that power much of the Scandinavian travel industry. We will continue to build upon SMART`s record of being the travel agents` partner of choice, by providing innovative travel distribution solutions” he added.
, Director of Marketing for Amadeus UK added, “The acquisition of the remaining shares in SMART further reinforces our commitment to growth in the European market. We look forward to continuing to develop and expand on the relationships we have developed throughout Scandinavia, Latvia and Lithuania.”
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