TORONTO — The Intrepid Group has made its first acquisition since its split from TUI two years ago, taking a 50% stake in polar and Latin American specialist Chimu Adventures.
Intrepid says it bought the majority stake in the Australian-owned company to meet a growing demand for sustainable travel experiences from increasingly adventurous travellers.
The investment will fuel further growth for both companies, enabling Chimu Adventures to quickly scale globally and the Intrepid Group to further expand its tailor-made FIT product offering across the multi-brand business.
Motivated by potential growth opportunities and shared business values, together the two companies will be one of the largest sellers of travel to Antarctica globally.
James Thornton, the Intrepid Group’s CEO, says that a priority for the new joint venture partnership is to launch a range of charter cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica.
“This year we launched our first Adventure Cruise range and had a phenomenal response. We know there is a huge appetite for a more sustainable and experiential style of cruise so it is our intention to expand in to polar charters as part of this cooperation,” says Thornton.
This is the Intrepid Group’s first investment since the company returned to independent ownership two years ago when the original founders of Intrepid Travel bought back the company after a shareholder split, in order to grow the market for sustainable experience-rich travel.
The Intrepid Group has seen record sales since the split from TUI, with sales up by 19% across the group this year.
The deal includes a 50% stake in Chimu Adventures, Get About Asia, and three sales offices in the UK, Sydney and Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
In addition, the agreement will also include 50% investment in Chimu’s three South American destination management companies, which will enable both companies to expand their global network of local destination management companies.
The addition of Chimu’s $30million business will add close to 10% of revenue to the Intrepid Group, which is already in excess of $300 million. The Melbourne-based Intrepid Group, which employs 1,600 staff in 27 offices in cities around the world including Toronto, is now one of the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences.
Chimu Adventures will remain independent of the multi-brand Intrepid Group under the new agreement, with co-founders Greg Carter and Chad Carey continuing to have complete autonomy to run the company where it will be business as usual.
“I am thrilled be partnering with the fantastic team at Intrepid Group, in order to grow the business that we started 13 years ago in a London apartment with a second hand laptop to a global level. We share many common ideas on sustainable travel and we believe it’s a perfect fit for both businesses”, says Greg Carter, Chimu Adventures Co-Founder.
While the partnership is motivated by the potential growth opportunities for both Intrepid and Chimu and that the companies have many similarities including a network of local destination management companies, Thornton says it was shared values and culture that sealed the deal.
“We’re delighted to work with Chad and Greg in a true partnership which will be mutually beneficial. Sustainable experience rich travel is seeing phenomenal growth globally and Chimu are market leaders in tailor-made travel, which is one of the fastest growing parts of the sector and currently only 10% of our business,” says Thornton.