European expansion

DER Touristik wants to buy Kuoni France

German tourism group DER Touristik plans to acquire Kuoni France, a premium French tour operator that it did not gain with the takeover of the Swiss group’s European tour operators.

February 12, 2018
DER Touristik Group CEO Sören Hartmann wants to snap up Kuoni France
Photo: DER Touristik

DER Touristik confirmed it is holding exclusive negotiations with French firm Travel Lab, which trades as Kuoni France. The aim is to agree the takeover of the Paris-based company in the first half of this year.

The third-largest German tourism group acquired the European tour operators of Switzerland’s Kuoni Group, including Switzerland, the UK and Scandinavia, in 2015. However, Kuoni France had already separated from the Swiss group in 2013 when it underwent a management buyout.

Under the acquisition plans, Kuoni France would become part of the DER Touristik Group and be expanded under its current management. The French company is a leading tour operator for premium holidays through diverse brands: Kuoni, Vacances Fabuleuses, Scanditours, Celtictours, Donatello and Les Ateliers du Voyage.

According to French travel trade magazine Tour Hebdo, Travel Lab, with some 220 staff, had turnover of €140 million in 2016, a 2.9% increase on 2015, but only achieved low profits.

Another significant M&A deal could also be pending. Investment fund LBO France has announced that it has contracted the Rothschild bank with the sale of its tour operators Fram, Promovacanes and Karavel, with combined revenues of €520 million. Fram, formerly family-owned, has suffered from falling revenues for many years.

The French tour operator market remains fragmented and plagued by difficult trading conditions, especially for mass market beach holidays. Both TUI and Thomas Cook made heavy losses in France for many years.

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