Gcp Backs Uk’s Leading Ski And Cruise Agent With £19 Million.
The UK’s leading online ski and cruise agent, Iglu.com, is planning to expand into Europe following the announcement today of a £19 million investment by the private equity house, GCP.
GCP has acquired a significant minority stake in Iglu.com after buying out previous investors Matrix Private Equity Partners.
Iglu’s founder and Chief Executive, Richard Downs, said: ‘It has long been my ambition to take the Iglu brand into Europe and the partnership with GCP will help make this a reality’.
All the Iglu team, headed by Managing Director, Simone Clark, are staying and the day-to-day running of the company from its Wimbledon headquarters will continue unchanged.
Richard Downs founded Iglu in 1998. It initially focused on ski and quickly became the UK’s leading retailer of packaged ski holidays. In 2006 the company entered the UK cruise retail market and is now the largest online cruise agent in the UK.
Iglu now employs 130 people and achieved sales of £90 million in the year to May 2012, an increase of 130 per cent over the past three years.
Simon Jobson, a GCP partner who is joining the Iglu board, said: ‘Iglu.com has capitalized brilliantly on the huge increase in the popularity of online travel, especially in the ski and cruise sectors.
'Our strong expertise and flexible funding structure will give Iglu the support it needs to become a leader in the European travel market including the relatively underdeveloped online market in Germany. There is also potential for some of our capital to fund future acquisitions.’
Richard Downs added ‘GCP was an attractive choice for us when looking for a supportive partner with the capacity to fund future growth. They provided all the funding on the deal, saving a huge amount of time and enabling us to come to an agreement quickly and efficiently.’