Acquisitions to continue at Western & Oriental

Luxury travel group Western & Oriental has acquired its third C&I business in just over a year, with the purchase of London agency Eclipse Conference Management for £3.1m. The company has also confirmed it is currently in talks with other MICE operations with a view to more buy-outs before year-end. Eclipse was established ten years ago and its core clients are the pharmaceutical and government agency markets. Profit before tax last year came in at £604,336 on turnover of £6m. The company’s purchase of the agency will comprise £1.2m-worth of shares in Western & Oriental and £1,865,884 in cash. Eclipse’s 13 staff will move from Waterloo into Western & Oriental’s new office in Victoria, London and all will retain their jobs. The acquisition will increase annual sales in Western & Oriental’s conference and incentive division to an estimated £12m and boosts the group’s luxury C&I business, which includes Lynton Cooper and Travel Management Team. It is Western & Oriental’s ninth acquisition overall since March 2006. Western & Oriental is set to continue with acquisitions in the C&I sector confirmed chairman David Howell: “Our policy is to have C&I as 20% of our overall business and so as we continue to acquire businesses in the luxury sector, we will also expand in C&I. We raised £14m in June this year for acquisitions and expect to have placed all those funds by the end of this calendar year. We are now well established in the automotive, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and financial services sectors and we will continue to consolidate in those areas.”

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