Travelzest considers buyout by own directors

Upmarket market travel operator group Travelzest has announced the closure of the formal sale process that was initiated in May of this year, having received indicative proposals from a number of parties.

Upmarket market travel operator group Travelzest has announced the closure of the formal sale process that was initiated in May of this year, having received indicative proposals from a number of parties.

Of these, the company believes the most attractive was from a group supported by Jonathan Carroll, Travelzest's own Chief Executive Officer, and Adrian Cobbold, Chief Financial Officer, and their private equity backers. The proposal was made with a view to the management team acquiring its Canadian businesses and assets, which represents almost all of the revenues and futures profits of the group.

If a sale of this nature were to go ahead, Travelzest would become a cash shell with no trading activity.

The current proposals being discussed value the Canadian business at a substantial premium to the current market capitalisation of the company, the firm said. As a result, the independent directors have terminated the formal sale process with immediate effect to focus on negotiations with the management team.

"These negotiations are still at an early stage and there can be no certainty that they will result in a sale that is acceptable to the board and shareholders," Travelzest said.

The company also gave an update on its recent trading performance, saying that it has experienced some booking delays in the last six weeks, although stressed that, generally speaking, trading conditions in the core Canadian markets have been "very encouraging" for most of the financial year. The delays have resulted from customers waiting to see its its suppliers' prices fall.

"Despite this, the company expects to achieve an improved trading result at the EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation] level both before and after exceptional items for the full year in comparison to the previous year," the firm said.

"We remain confident that our leading position in the Canadian travel sector will continue to provide exceptional opportunities for growth."

The share price rose 18/18% to 6.50p by 14:02.

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