British Thomas Cook group officially announced the purchase of the Russian tour operator “Biblio-Globus”

Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook

British tourist holding Thomas Cook announced the creation of a new joint venture to work in Russia (message on the London stock exchange). Tour holding will acquire 30% in a specially created company, which, in turn, will become the owner of “Biblio Globus” — as stated in the message, “one of the largest tour operators in Russia.”

“Biblio-Globus” will be placed under the control of the Ionic SP Invest and Thomas Cook Group. This is stated in the message of the British company. Under the terms of the agreement, the JV will receive 100% of Biblio-Globus for an initial contribution of $10 million (646.5 million rubles). Thomas Cook will have a 30% stake in the JV after depositing $3 million (RUB 194 million) in may 2019. In January 2020, the joint venture will pay another $10 million for Biblio-Globus.

When creating a joint venture, partner of the British group, Turkish company Sarpedon Travel (controlling company Ionic Invest) will be involved in the deal: first, Sarpedon will become the owner of Biblio Globus, and then Thomas Cook will receive 30%.

Subsequently, the British holding will become the owner of 100% of the joint venture, this should happen by January 2020.

The operator’s management, including the main owner Alexander Tugolukov, will remain in the company. When Biblio-Globus reaches its aggressive three-year operating profit targets, the maximum amount paid by the JV could reach $150 million (RUB 9.66 billion), including initial contributions. It is expected that the assets of the tour operator “Biblio-Globus” at the end of the transaction will be $52.7 million, and profit before tax in the first year – $15.8 million.

“The acquisition of Biblio-Globus in partnership with Ionic Invest gives Thomas Cook a unique opportunity to expand our presence in Russia and take advantage of new opportunities in the growing market. A strong brand, the best technologies on the market and a variety of directions will help strengthening the tour operator business in Russia and expand the customer base of our brand hotels in the Eastern Mediterranean”, – quotes the press service of Thomas Cook holding, the head of Continental Europe Source Markets.

Currently, from the financial indicators of “Biblio Globus” the buyer mentioned only the expected profit of the Russian company before taxes. For the year ending 30 September 2019, this amount will be £12 million.

in recent years “Biblio Globus” represents the tourist industry in the ranking of Forbes “200 largest private companies of Russia”. At the end of 2018, the tour operator takes 109th place with a possible revenue of 79.5 billion rubles. According to its own data, in 2018 its services were used by 2.93 million people.

Official data “Biblio Globus” previously provided to the Federal Agency for Tourism, is much more modest. Now under the brand name “Biblio Globus” tour operator activity is carried out by three legal entities: LLC “Greenvers” is engaged in domestic tourism, LLC “Krister” and LLC “Biblio Globus”.

The last two companies notified Rosturizm Agency that in 2017 they sent abroad 194.4 thousand tourists selling them full-fledged tours with flights and accommodation in hotels for 7 billion and 638 thousand rubles.

EGRUL calls the owner of OOO “Krister” Anastasia Mikhailova, OOO “Biblio Globus” — Alexandra Tugolukova, OOO “Greenvers” — Olga Lysak. The travel agents themselves do not work directly with these legal entities, they sign a contract with LLC “Operator Biblio-Globus”, which acts on behalf of the legal entities listed in the Federal register of tour operators and owned by Alexander Tugolukov.

Tugolukov and his wife Julia, daughter of Boris Yesenkin, General Director of the bookstore “Biblio Globus” on Myasnitskaya street, founded the travel Agency in 1994. But as suggested by the sources in the tourism market Tugolukovs have other partners.

In 2015 managing Director of Biblio Globus Alexander Tugolukov did not answer the direct question whether he and his wife are the beneficiaries of the tour operator. “In fact, we are ideologists,” — said the founder of the company.

By the mid-2010’s “Biblio Globus” became one of the clear leaders of the domestic tourism market. In the company itself, this was explained by the rate on technology and the implemented system of dynamic pricing, when the cost of the tour changes online depending on the situation.

Competitors of the “Biblio-Globus” is explained the success primarily by the cooperation with the airline “Transaero” which provided to the tour operator with blocks of seats on the most favorable terms.

“Transaero” was negotiating the purchase of “Biblio Globe”, but the deal never took place, said Tugolukov in 2015. That year, the collapse of Transaero threatened the business of Biblio Globus, which a few months before the suspension of flights transferred to the air carrier about 8 billion rubles.

Travel agents then wrote open letters to the government in support of the “Biblio Globus”, calling for preventing the collapse of the “industry-forming tour operator”.

In March 2016, the new partner of Biblio Globus for transportation was the Russia airlines, a member of Aeroflot group. The tour operator, in fact, began to dispose of 13 aircraft carriers. Tugolukov himself did not hide his interest primarily in technlogy. “I now set myself the task of implementing software for hotels, — Tugolukov said in 2015. — I rented hotels in Russia for this purpose this year to start preparing it, and I plan to continue it further. It is much more interesting to go out with the software and place it in thousands of hotels! Because in aviation and the hotels industry software is motly of foreign make. It is the right moment to take share of the market. And this is in addition to the fact that all the information is located in databases outside Russia. It’s abnormal. And I clearly understand that we can change this thing.”

The British tour holding in Russia already owns the tour operator “Intourist”. At the end of 2018, Thomas Cook Group became its sole owner, having bought 25% from “Sistema” of Vladimir Yevtushenkov.

In the previous financial year, which ended September 30, 2018, Russian business “significantly increased”, stated in the statements of Thomas Cook. Absolute figures are not disclosed, it is indicated only that the number of customers in Russia increased by 13%, while the profitability of “Intourist” decreased.

Founded in 1841, Thomas Cook is considered the world’s oldest travel company. Currently, it operats in three business areas: tourist, aviation and hotel.

Thomas Cook airline at the end of the 2018 fiscal year improved the results by 35 million pounds, despite the difficulties in the market, which led to the withdrawal from the market of Air Berlin and Monarch. In 2019, it is planned to open at least 20 hotels of Thomas Cook group brands in the world. In 2019, Thomas Cook Group plans to increase sales of tours to hotels of its own brand by 15%.

In its present form, Thomas Cook Group’s business was structured in 2007. The company is headquartered in London. The largest shareholder with a share of 14.17% is American Invesco.

Revenue of the entire Thomas Cook in the previous financial year reached £9.6 billion, operating profit — £97 million, net loss — £163 million. Thomas Cook capitalization on the London stock exchange — £439.6 million.

The main asset of Thomas Cook in Russia is the tour operator “Intourist”. Initially, for this transaction in 2010, Thomas Cook also created a joint venture with the “Sistem”, and at the end of 2018 bought out the entire Sistem’s share.

Sources in the tourism market previously explained that the main value for Thomas Cook is the presence of “Biblio-Globus” strict contractual obligations with the airline “Russia” and a large-scale customer base. One of the sources pointed out this was part of the deal, the largest tour operator will appear on the Russian market.

Ionic Invest, which will become the main owner of the joint venture, has not yet been widely represented in the tourism market. It is controlled by the Turkish Sarpedon Travel, specializing in the reception of tourists. This company is a long-time partner of Thomas Cook, follows from the message of the British group.

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