OnTheBeach named one of fastest growing UK travel firms

London City Airport and On The Beach are among five travel companies to have made it into the 2009 Sunday Times Deloitte Buyout Track 100 list.

The annual list, which features private-equity backed UK companies with the fastest-growing profits over the last two years, includes London City Airport, On The Beach, Qhotels, Enigma Holidays and The Trainline.

Companies are ranked according to the compound annual growth in their profits over two years based on latest available figures (either 2005-2007 or 2006-2008). Profits – defined as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation –  had to exceed £1 million in the base year and be between £3 million and £50 million in the latest available figures.

London City Airport, acquired by Global Infrastructure Partners with AIG Financial Products in late 2006, was ranked seventh overall. Profits have risen by an average of 94% each year over the last two years. The company, which employs 346 staff, reported a profit of £33.4 million in 2008.

Online travel agency On The Beach is 13th in the list, enjoying annual profit growth of 77% to its latest profit of £4.8 million. Shareholders are Isis Equity Partners, which owns 51% of the business, while management and family have the remaining 49%. It employs 97 staff.

Hotel operator QHotels enjoyed annual profit growth of 73%, a profit of £33.2 million and employs 2,034 staff. Its shareholders are Alchemy Partners, which owns 87% of the business, and management, which owns 13%.

Tour operator Enigma Holidays grew profits 49% to £3.5 million. It employs 405 staff and is backed by Isis Equity Partners (48%), management (50%) and Lloyds TSB (2%).

Train website operator The Trainline enjoyed profit growth of 34% in the last two years. Its latest reported profit was £21 million. It employs 140 staff and is backed by Exponent Private Equity (80%) and management (20%).

Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets is a co-sponsor of the list. Head of structured debt origination John Herbert said; “Despite the current economic outlook, there are companies in the travel sector which have solid business models and strong management teams capable of building on recent success.”

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