The Thomas Cook India Group Acquires Kuoni’s Global Network of Destination Management Specialists in 17 Countries Worldwide.

 “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney


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  It is an exciting time for us!  We are delighted to inform you that Thomas Cook India has expanded its international footprint, by acquiring Kuoni’s global network of Destination–Management Specialists in 17 countries. The multinational acquisition creates a strong global network that will transform the Thomas Cook India Group into a globally integrated travel services provider with the ability to leverage inherent synergies across its international travel portfolio, with an enhanced product and seamless delivery network capability for the Group and its B2B and B2C customers.

The agreement provides us with a significant expanded global footprint and includes premier brands with expert knowledge of their respective regions:  “Asian Trails”, “Desert Adventures Tourism”, “Gulf Dunes”,  “Private Safaris (East & South)”, “Allied TPro” as well as “Australian Tours Management”, and extends across 21 countries and 4 continents – USA, Canada, South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Oman, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia, and also including India, Sri Lanka and Mauritius.

Picture1The deal evinced a lot of interest in the media, and the travel trade. Besides strong coverage in major print publications and online, there were also interviews with our Chairman & MD, Madhavan Menon, on electronic (TV) channels.

Asked why Thomas Cook India had decided to take this major step, Madhavan said:

“Ever since we entered into an agreement with Kuoni to acquire their operations in India and Hong Kong, we had a potential appetite to look at companies within Asia, since we believe Asia will be a destination of choice all over the world and long haul travel from the U.S. and Europe will get restored to its pre-2015 levels. Therefore, it was important to be present in the incoming business in Asia.

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The transaction, per se, allows us to handle tourists that are coming into these countries, through these entities, which are long-standing operations, not new ones, as a result of which we expect that it will consolidate our incoming business.  In India, it will make us the largest player in that business under the name of TCI-Sita. We will consolidate this business and in the process, it will allow us to leverage off the strength of our presence in the local markets, to see how we can make our other travel businesses, such as business travel etc., also successful in these markets.”

image001“We have inherited a very experienced set of Managers,” said Madhavan, “And as per the Fairfax philosophy, these managers and their management teams will continue to run the operations in their respective locations.  We don’t intend to change anything, since they know the hard realities! The managers will be made the Executive Heads of their companies.  Each one of these companies — five in total—will become Board-managed businesses, where Fairfax representatives will be present.”

When asked how the Kuoni global and Thomas Cook’s domestic business would be integrated, Madhavan replied:

“We do not wish to integrate the operations, since each of these countries have their own set of rules and regulations.  But having said

that, we will have a sales force that will go out and source business, bring tourists and interact with the local travel agents, so that they can send tourists to their respective countries.  The objective is to use the sales force and technology to essentially drive synergies.

“In India, we are operating as Thomas Cook, SOTC and TCI. The current transaction has no impact on the Indian structure.  Their primary business is not Indian business.  India happens to be one segment, but it is not the largest customer. It is global and should bring in about $200 million of revenue. Asian Travels is the largest, covering 9 countries within Asia. So it is time to stop calling Thomas Cook India an Indian company.  We are registered on the Indian Stock Exchange, but the business is spread over 21 countries, spreading over 4 continents.”

It is, indeed, a matter of great pride that we have transformed ourselves into the largest travel company in India and now one of Asia’s largest players. The Group now employs more than 6500 full time employees and an additional 1,89,200 who are outsourced by Quess Corp. to various customers.

Our Chairman specially acknowledged the role of Mahesh Iyer, Dipak Deva, Debasis Nandy, Ram Kenkare, Mona Cheriyan, Amit Madhan, Amit Parekh, Hemant Vora and their respective teams in completing this gargantuan task with great success. They were instrumental in ensuring that the transaction was concluded smoothly and to our satisfaction.

Can it get any bigger and better?

We had asked ourselves that question before when we acquired the earlier companies.

It CAN, and it DID…. and will continue to do so in the future!