Business Action | February / March 2019

businessaction

Independent North Devon-based business magazine covering news about business and enterprise in Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton, Chulmleigh, Combe Martin, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth, Lynton, South Molton, Torrington, Woolacombe and more.

New investor for

travel tech firm

NEWS

ECI Partners, a UK growthfocused

private equity firm,

has purchased Phoenix Equity

Partners’ stake in Bidefordbased

Travel Chapter, which

markets more than 5,000

properties across the UK

through holidaycottages.co.uk

and other web sites.

Phoenix Equity Partners’

sale delivers a return of 3.6

x investment cost and a 62%

internal rate of return (IRR)

for investors in Phoenix’s

2016 Fund. Financial terms

have not been disclosed.

Established in 1989, Travel

Chapter has developed a

leading, technology-driven,

marketing platform for

holiday lettings in the UK,

which features many sophisticated

marketing capabilities

and a highly rated customer

service model.

Business expansion

Phoenix partnered with

Travel Chapter’s chief executive

officer, Jamie Morris, in

2016 to support the expansion

of the business through

a combination of organic

and acquisitive growth. Since

then, 20 acquisitions were

completed, the number of

properties under management

and the number

of employees more than

doubled, and profits increased

threefold. Jamie will continue

to lead the business through

the next stage of its growth.

Will Skinner, partner

at Phoenix, said: “We’re

delighted to have been part of

the Travel Chapter story. It’s a

terrific example of how we can

partner with a talented team

and use our capital to rapidly

and materially grow a business

together. We wish the team

and the new investors every

success in the years to come.”

Jamie Morris, chief executive

officer of Travel Chapter,

said: “Phoenix have been

fantastic partners over the last

few years and I would like to

thank them for their support

and experience, which have

proven invaluable. I look

forward to working with

ECI over the coming years

as we continue to grow the

business.”

George Moss, partner at

ECI Partners, added: “We

are delighted to partner with

Jamie and his team at Travel

Chapter. Given our prior

strong experience and 20-year

track record in the sector,

we’re excited about working

with them over the next phase

of the business’ growth. Travel

Chapter has a strong, resilient

business model and some

exciting opportunities ahead.”

Future plans

Travel Chapter has grown its

team from 47 in 2012 and

now employs more than 260

people across the UK – most

of them based at its Bideford

HQ – with this number set to

exceed 320 in 2019.

Team responsibilities range

from reservations to customer

services, property account

managers, new business,

finance, marketing and technical.

The company values

its people highly and actively

encourages training, personal

growth and development of

all of its team members.

The company started at

Bideford Quay, then moved

to Northam before opening

its purpose-built headquarters,

Travel Chapter House

on Gammaton Road, East the

Water in 2017. A large extension

is being built during

2019 to house the growing

team and growth plans.

Travel Chapter’s offices

across the UK include Bristol,

Newcastle, Norfolk, the

Lake District, Harrogate. Its

regional property account

managers and new business

managers stretch across

the country from the tip of

Southern Cornwall to the

Highlands of Scotland.

■■Details 01237 426287 or

travelchapter.com

Kelly Williams, sales and marketing director, Savona Foodservice

Food supplier achieves

highest global standard

Savona Foodservice, which

acquired Ilfracombe Wholesale

Grocers, has been

awarded BRC AA standard

in Storage and Distribution

at both its Ilfracombe and

Oxford depots.

AA is the highest

possible score awarded by

the scheme, which aims to

maintain product integrity

during storage and distribution.

BRC Global Standards

currently operate in 130

countries and BRC auditors

are known to be experienced,

well-practised and welltrained,

so achieving top

score is a big achievement for

the company.

“AA standard isn’t just

another accreditation,”

commented Mike Morgan,

director and general

manager at Savona’s Oxford

depot, “it is an external

recognition of the investment

that we have made to

achieve the highest possible

quality assurances.”

Kelly Williams, sales and

marketing director, based in

Ilfracombe, added: “We’ve

always known that our

company is built on quality

and accreditation at the

highest levels simply gives us

third party verification and

allows us to share this with

prospective customers.”

Since 2016, Savona has

doubled cold store capacity

at Ilfracombe, developed

a state-of-the-art freezer

extension at Oxford and

won multiple contracts.

Savona continues to invest

in improving its services

and is preparing to launch

its pioneering online

ordering platform, which

uses Artificial Intelligence

programmed specifically

for the food sector, to offer

customers a sophisticated yet

quick and easy service.

Visit Savona Foodservice

South West’s Annual

Catering Exhibition 2019

at Exeter Racecourse, 10am

to 4pm, on Tuesday 26

February.

■■Details 01271 862569 or

savonasouthwest.co.uk

4 business action | February / March 2019 | business-action.co.uk

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