NorthEdge Capital has backed the management buyout of ITC Luxury Travel Group. The firm has invested for a majority stake to support CEO Jen Atkinson and her senior team to deliver on planned investment in IT, management, staff, product and customer service.
Specialising in luxury tailor made holidays worldwide since 1974, Chester-based ITC Luxury Travel is one of the UK’s largest independent luxury tour operators and recently featured in BBC documentary, “The Millionaires Holiday Club”, covering luxury holidays to Barbados, Jamaica and India. ITC was the first travel company to charter Concorde and has a team of 60 travel specialists with an outstanding reputation for customer service. The business is on track to make 13,000 bookings this year and is expected to carry 32,000 passengers to 106 countries across the globe.
ITC Luxury Travel Group employs 200 staff and is led by Jen Atkinson, who became CEO in 2009. The company reported turnover of £80m in the year to April 2016 – up from £43m in 2013. This was aided by the acquisition of Western and Oriental Travel Ltd in June 2015, which expanded the core luxury beach offering and developed Group-wide expertise in experiential holidays.
The deal was led by NorthEdge Partner Ray Stenton with support from Investment Director Phil Frame and Investment Manager George Potts. Stenton will join the ITC board as a Non-Executive Director and Andrew Higginson, current Chairman at WM Morrison plc, N Brown Group plc and Non-Executive Director at Woolworths in South Africa, has been appointed Chairman.
Jen Atkinson, CEO at ITC, said: “We’re delighted to have NorthEdge on board as a partner as we look to increase market share in the luxury travel space. The investment from NorthEdge will allow us to invest in the training and development of our sales teams, as well as developing our IT infrastructure to ensure we can continue to deliver exceptional experiences and market leading service to our customers. We will also be looking to broaden our product offering beyond our current luxury and tailor made proposition. Our customers demand unique experiences in the world’s most exclusive destinations with a first class service.”
Ray Stenton, Partner at NorthEdge Capital, added: “ITC is recognised as one of the UK’s pre-eminent luxury travel brands and has been selling luxury holidays into a resilient consumer base for over 40 years. The business has a clear growth strategy and has already demonstrated its ability to expand both organically and through acquisition. Jen has done a superb job in doubling profitability and getting the company to where it is today. We look forward to working with her and the rest of the management team in delivering the next stage of the company’s development.”