One of France's largest travel firms, Voyageurs du Monde, has said it will acquire 60 per cent of UK-based luxury tour operator Original Travel in an effort to further expand into English-speaking markets.
The Euronext Paris-listed company has a 40 per cent share of the French market, but it's now eyeing up expansion in the UK, US, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Australia.
The acquisition follows a 12-month review of the UK market, during which time Voyageurs said it was impressed by Original Travel's growth.
The British travel firm, which is one of the UK's fastest growing bespoke travel companies, has grown steadily since it was established in 2003, with revenue growing more than 20 per cent to £15m in 2016. In contrast, the bespoke travel sector has only recently returned to levels seen before the recession, the French company said.
"We believe Original Travel management team are the best placed team in the UK to help us develop the leading bespoke travel company in the English-speaking world," said Jean Francois Rial, chief executive of Voyageurs du Monde.
Original Travel will retain 40 per cent of the business and will operate as Voyageur's partner. The British company will be a platform for organic and acquisitive growth in the English-speaking world, Voyageurs said.
In 2015, Voyageurs reported revenue of €362m (£313m) and earnings of €21m (£18m). Its share price increased 2.39 per cent today in morning trading.
Nick Newbury, chief executive of Original Travel, said the company was flattered to be approached by Voyageurs du Monde. "Partnering with a business that share our ethos is a hugely significant development as we embark on the next step of our corporate growth."