Dubai’s dnata, part of the Emirates Group which includes the fast-growing Emirates airline, has agreed to buy Britain’s Stella Travel Services pending regulatory approval, it said on Sunday.
Dnata, which describes itself as the largest provider of air travel services in the Middle East and employs about 23,000 staff in 38 countries, did not reveal the value of the deal but said it would strengthen the company’s global position.
Chester-based Stella operates five brands – TravelBag, Travel2, Sunmaster, Global Travel Group and Triton Rooms – that provide travel services ranging from retail operations to call centres.
“Destinations in the Middle East and Indian Ocean have driven strong growth for our company in recent years,” Andrew Botterill, Stella’s chief executive, said in the statement. “Dnata’s expertise in these regions will help continue this trend for years to come.”
Dnata has been expanding organically and through acquisitions. Last year it bought out the 50 per cent stake it did not already own in Air Chefs of Italy; other recent acquisitions include Broadlex, an aircraft cleaning firm in Australia, and Gold Medal Travel Group, a distributor of long-haul travel products in Britain.
“We have Dhs2.4 billion ($653 million) of cash available this year. So that’s a nice little war chest to make use of and we have the support of our chairman to reinvest,” dnata’s president Gary Chapman said in May this year.