Dnata tipped as buyer for Kuoni tour operations

kly.co.uk/cms/media/eas-id-cms/24076" alt="" width="299" height="199" align="right" class="newsArticleImage">

Emirates’ dnata arm is tipped as being among a handful of prospective suitors showing an early interest in bidding for Kuoni’s tour operations.

It is not clear whether interest from dnata and several private equity firms is for all the operations or whether they intend to cherry-pick parts.

Dubai-based dnata has shown a growing interest for UK tour operations.

Dnata bought Gold Medal from Thomas Cook for £45 million and added Travel 2 parent Stella Travel Services just seven months later.

Dnata said at the time that it had “plans for extensive growth” as to seeks to build on brands that also include Travel Republic.

A Kuoni group spokesman told the Sunday Telegraph that there had been expressions of interest and the sale was progressing well but declined to comment on specific names.

Kuoni’s tour operating business reported a pre-tax loss of £3.8 million for the year ending 2013, but is now understood to be profitable.

The UK arm has 35 branded travel agency outlets, including ten concessions in John Lewis department stores.

Swiss-based Kuoni is looking to get out of the consumer travel industry amid fierce competition from online comparison sites and budget airlines.

It is planning to concentrate on government travel and business services.

The tour operating business includes services in Hong Kong, India, Belgium, Switzerland an