Kuoni completes strategic repositioning of company portfolio

With GTS joining JTB Corporation, a leading market player, Kuoni has completed the strategic repositioning of its portfolio and is now poised for the next step on its journey.

EQT VII acquired Kuoni Group, a service provider to the global travel industry, in May 2016. The aim was to realize the full potential of the three core businesses of Kuoni: GTA, GTS (Kuoni Global Travel Services including Destination Management Specialists) and VFS. As a first step, in line with EQT’s industrial and sustainable approach, the stand-alone opportunities for the three businesses were pursued, resulting in a substantial augmentation of the Kuoni Group governance. A holding board and three separate divisional boards, populated with renowned industry experts, were implemented. 

A particular focus in the review was given to the growth opportunities that certain businesses in the group would reach if combined with the respective leaders in their market segments. This led to the following transactions:

- The GTA merger into the Hotelbeds Group, announced in April 2017. After a synergetic add-on acquisition in 2016, the merger into Hotelbeds represents a compelling opportunity for GTA to co-create a strong platform for future growth. EQT VII and the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation will remain invested in the Hotelbeds Group to support its future growth trajectory.

- The sale of the Destination Management Specialists (DMS) to Thomas Cook India Group, announced in April 2017.

- The sale of Kuoni Global Travel Services (GTS), with its Group Travel Experts as well as the European and North American MICE businesses, to JTB Corporation, announced today.

Having completed the repositioning of Kuoni, the main focus for future development will be on the VFS business. VFS is the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions with global presence. EQT VII and the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation are committed to driving VFS’ future growth by investing in new client service offerings to governments and visa applicants, as well as digital transformation of the business. 

“In a very short time, the three core businesses of Kuoni have been given completely new opportunities to enhance their market positions and unlock future growth. It's a strong strategic fit to combine GTA and GTS with their respective industry leaders, and completely in line with EQT’s commitment to finding the best possible next owners for its companies. The full attention for EQT VII and its partner the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation will now be on developing VFS and further expanding its clear market leadership”, says Michael Bauer, Partner at EQT Partners and Investment Advisor to EQT VII.