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Key Travel attracts major investment

05 August 2013 19:26

Key Travel is set to expand its UK and global business through a major investment boost and Management Buy Out (MBO) in partnership with private equity firm Living Bridge.


Key Travel is set to expand its UK and global business through a major investment boost and Management Buy Out (MBO) in partnership with private equity firm Living Bridge.
Living Bridge, which already has an established presence within the travel management sector, has made a £9 million investment in Key Travel. This investment will support the ambitious growth plans of the business while also providing valuable independence and control over its strategy and direction.
 
There will be no operational changes for either customers or suppliers.  Key Travel will continue to focus on the non-profit sector where it has unrivalled expertise in the unique routes, fares, policy, administration and risk management requirements of the niche.
 
Founder of Key Travel, Ajaya Sodha, will step down as Chairman but will retain a substantial financial stake in the business and will continue to support the business on industry relations. Spence Knudson, formerly CFO will assume the role of CEO, and Steve Summers formerly CEO will leave Key Travel to pursue other personal ambitions. James Gilmour formerly Group Financial Controller has been promoted to the position of Group Financial Director and Andy Speller, UK MD, will additionally assume responsibility for Sales in Belgium.
 
Spence Knudson says:
“We are delighted to announce this exciting milestone in the Key Travel story, enabling us to continue to grow as an independent TMC providing our customers with high quality service at affordable prices. The management team investment demonstrates their commitment to the future of the business and I personally look forward to leading the next phase of our development with them and the support of Living Bridge. We considered a number of investment proposals, but chose to partner with Living Bridge because they had a genuine affinity with our business, and the sector we serve. Living Bridge brings a wealth of strategic expertise and knowledge having already completed similar investments in both travel and non-profit sector support businesses, and we are all eager to mobilise our future plans with them by our side.”
 
Pete Clarke, Partner, Living Bridge, comments:
“We have long been an admirer of Key Travel and first got to know Ajaya and his management team some years ago. When the opportunity to invest as part of the MBO came along we were keen to be able to play a part and support Spence and the team in the next chapter for Key. We are already looking to invest further capital to support the ambitious growth plans of the business and have a number of potential acquisitions in our sights.”
 
Ajaya Sodha says:
“After 30 years in the front seat on the Key Travel journey I feel that the time and the place has come for me to take a back seat and let a new generation of leaders take the controls. With Spence now at the helm of the company I know my vision for the future of Key Travel will be fulfilled and is in very safe and capable hands. Customers and staff will benefit from the investment that Living Bridge will bring and ensure the long-term future of the business. Key Travel is now stronger than it’s ever been, the future looks very exciting and this move shows my very real faith and recognition of the collective effort and strength of the Key Travel team who have got us here.”

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