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Cox & Kings sells adventure holiday unit for about $39M

Cox & Kings Ltd said on Tuesday it has sold its UK-based adventure holiday unit Explore Worldwide Ltd to Hotelplan UK Group for £25.8 million (about $39 million, or Rs 258 crore).

“The sale will help the company to increase focus on three key verticals—leisure, education and hybrid hotels (Meininger),” said Peter Kerkar, director at Cox and Kings.

The Mumbai-based tour and travel firm held Explore Worldwide through its Holidaybreak Plc subsidiary.

Hotelplan’s existing portfolio includes Inghams, family travel specialist Esprit Holidays, chalet specialist Ski Total, Santa’s Lapland and self-guided walking and cycling specialist Inntravel.

Explore Worldwide generated net revenue of £11.2 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of £2.3 million in 2014-15. The company includes the brands Explore for soft adventure tours and RegalDive for diving adventures.

Farnborough-based Explore has operated small group adventure holidays since 1981 and runs 500 tours across 120 countries. RegalDive, which was founded in 1988, specialises in diving tours and is based in Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Cox & Kings bought the two brands as part of the acquisition of their parent company Holidaybreak in 2011.

Cox & Kings had been actively expanding its business in Europe, especially in the UK. Apart from the Holidaybreak Plc deal, it brought in 2012 Citigroup’s private equity arm, Citigroup Venture Capital International (now part of The Rohatyn Group), to invest in Prometheon.

In October this year, the company had acquired UK-based hotel booking website LateRooms.com for £8.5 million (around Rs 85 crore, or $13 million).

Cox & Kings competes with Thomas Cook among many other local and international travel services firms.

In August, Thomas Cook signed an agreement to buy Kuoni Group's travel and tour business in India and Hong Kong for Rs 535 crore ($84 million).

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