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Ian Burnley, ceo of Expotel, the UK's largest hotel booking agency, has successfully led a management buy out (MBO) of the business.Backed by Phoenix Equity Partner, a private investment company, Expotel has also bought up rival hotel booking agency NIS Europe. Together the deals cost Â£38m.The chairman of the new company will be Richard Lovell who retired as Carlson Wagonlit Travel's president EMEA and Latin America last March.The takeover makes Expotel by far the largest hotel booking agency in the UK. Expotel had a 2007 revenue of Â£218m and NIS, the fifth largest in the UK, an income of Â£52.6m.Their combined revenue of Â£270.6m puts them far ahead of their nearest rival BSI on Â£167m.Expotel was set up more than 30 years ago and has 400 staff in offices in Stanmore, Stockport, Leeds and Glasgow.NIS was established in 1989 and has 80 staff at its Manchester headquarters.Mr Burnley said Any Moss would be the company's finance director while Maurice Segal, Kirti Shah and Stephen Kaye would be retiring from the company.He said: "The combination of Expotel and NIS creates exciting opportunities for us. "The acquisition of NIS Europe brings immediate technology advantages to the Expotel group and opens up a number of possibilities to enhance our service offerings."Mr Lovell said: "The Expotel brand is a very strong franchise in the market and the acquisition of NIS will further strengthen Expotel's market position.""I have been impressed with the team's plans and look forward to working with them."
Accor reports strong first half growth
Accor reported a growth of 5.1% in its hotel business in the first six months of 2008.The French hotel chain said its hotel revenue in the six month period was 2,810m compared with 2,850m in the same period in 2007.(This represented a like for like growth when taking into account fluctuations in exchange rates).The group said income from its up- and mid-market properties (Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure and Suitehotel) had risen by 6.2% while its economy properties outside the US (Ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel and Formule 1) rose by 6.1%.Only its economy hotels in the US saw a drop of 0.4% in revenue.Accor attributed growth in its up- and mid-markets properties to a 7% rise in revenue in France.This was led by a “robust” performance by the Novotel and Mercure brands where revenue per available room (revPAR) rose 9% and 9.2% respectively.Accor also said revenue grew by 12.6% at its German hotels and by 7.2% at its UK properties.Among its budget hotels, Accor said there was a 5.9% revenue growth in France, with Ibis's revPAR risng by 11%, and revenue increases of 8.1% and 9.8% respectively among its economy hotels in Germany and the UK.Overall, the Group said that including its increased income from its hotel services, total revenuefor the six months was 3,765m, a like for like increase of 5.2% on 2007.For the future, Accor said it was well positioned to drive sustained growth and effectively resist cyclical downturns.