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Dnata acquires British online travel agency

Move is one of the biggest business transactions in Dubai company's 52-year history

Gulf News

Dubai: Air services provider Dnata, which is also the ground handling unit of Emirates airline, has acquired a majority stake in the UK's largest privately owned online travel agency, Travel Republic.

The acquisition represents one of Dnata's biggest business transactions in the company's 52 year history, it said yesterday in a statement without disclosing the value of the deal.

The deal sees Dnata gaining control of the business offering attractive prices on a choice of 120,000 hotels, and flights with some 100 airlines to 650 destinations. Last year Travel Republic recorded an increase of more than 40 per cent in its annual turnover to over £400 million (Dh2.29 billion), Dnata said in the statement. It added that the investment would allow Dnata to capitalise on the increasing popularity of online travel bookings which recorded a dramatic increase in growth last year.

As a part of the acquisition, which came into effect on December 28, will continue under the Travel Republic branding, Dnata said.

Dnata has in the past fostered its global expansion through acquisitions. In 2008 the company acquired a 23 per cent share in worldwide corporate travel company Hogg Robinson Group and a 49 per cent stake in the global outsource provider Mind Pearl. This was followed by its December 2010 acquisition of in-flight caterer Alpha Flight Limited, extending the company's reach to its current presence in some 76 airports.