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Kuoni withdraws from German travel market

Kuoni has divested itself of its troubled German arm Keystone

Switzerland’s biggest travel group Kuoni has announced that it is to sell its German-based subsidiary Kuoni Reisen to a German rival.

This content was published on May 2, 2005 - 15:57

Kuoni said on Monday that the loss-making concern was being sold to Otto Freizeit und Tourisktik (OFT) for an undisclosed sum, adding that there would be no job losses.

"Kuoni Travel Holding is convinced that OFT is ideally equipped to provide its former German subsidiary with the strategic investment required," said Kuoni in a statement.

"OFT will take over all current Kuoni Reisen employees and all the company’s present sales outlets under the terms of the transaction," it added.

Kuoni Reisen, which is based in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance, has 32 offices throughout Germany and generated an invoiced turnover of €90 million ($116 million) last year, said the Swiss travel group.

The deal is still subject to regulatory approval in both countries. The two companies have agreed not to disclose the sale price.

Problematic

The Zurich-based Kuoni Group made a net profit of SFr73.8 million ($61.6 million) last year, but its German subsidiary has been a weakness.

Company spokeswoman Andrea Hemmi said the subsidiary had never been big enough to be truly competitive in the tough German travel market.

A huge amount of investment would have been needed to keep operations going, she added.

Kuoni says it is convinced that it has made the right strategic decision by choosing OFT – a part of the Otto Group. The Hamburg-based group is active worldwide and had a turnover in 2004 of €14.4 billion.

Following the announcement, shares in Kuoni rose on Monday morning by 1.4 per cent to SFr474.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Alfred Kuoni founded Kuoni in 1906.
It is specialised in holidays and business trips.
Kuoni is the biggest travel group in Switzerland as well as being one of the largest in Europe.
It has more than 100 offices and around 100 franchises in Switzerland.
More than 1,000 travel agents offer Kuoni.

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