RealTime IT News

ebookers.com Acquires Spanish Tour Operator

[May 8] ebookers.com announced Monday it has acquired all the share capital of Spanish travel wholesaler and tour operator Viajes Dimensiones, S.L.

The amount paid was not disclosed, but ebookers.com said it was in line with other European acquisitions it has made recently.

Viajes Dimensiones sells negotiated fares and last minute holidays and had revenues in 1999 of £6 million ($10 million).

Dinesh Dhamija, chief executive office of ebookers.com, said his company had nearly finished its planned series of takeovers in Europe. He said the acquisitions were being completed ahead of schedule and within the expected budget.

"Our program allows us to offer many advantages to consumers via our access to negotiated fares in 11 countries and our presence in local markets. Our competitors are more localized, operating in one or just a few European countries which means that their potential market is smaller than ours," said Dhamija.

The deal with Viajes Dimensiones enables ebookers.com to circumvent national and IATA licensing restrictions on negotiated fares and sell directly to Spanish consumers.

As ebookers.com points out in a statement, its target markets have a population of 300 million, significantly more than even the United States where online travel companies have hitherto enjoyed the largest home market.

The most recent results from ebookers.com showed Q1 sales of £15.5 million ($24.9 million) for the quarter ending at March 31, 2000, ten times the figure of the same quarter in the previous year.

Founded in the U.K. and floated on the Nasdaq and the Neuer Markt, ebookers.com now operates in France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands, the U.K. and Spain.

The notable exception to the above list is Italy, where ebookers.com is almost certainly looking for a possible acquisition to complete its expansion program.