Clearwater advise leading travel technology company in deal with RJD Partners

Dato

Comtec, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of software solutions to travel agents, specialist tour operators and travel product suppliers requiring distribution, has undergone a multi-million pound deal with private equity house, RJD Partners.

Comtec, which operates from its head office in Cwmbran in South Wales was founded in 1995 and is headed by CEO, Simon Powell. As a market leading provider of technology solutions to the travel industry, Comtec is unique in providing systems and services to both tour operators and travel agents.

Simon Powell will be re-investing in Comtec together with other members of the management team including: Richard Turner – customer accounts director, Howard Frost – new business sales director, Matt Wakerley – finance director and Humphrey Sheil – product management & technology director.

Simon Powell commented: “This deal is an ideal solution as we enter the next stage in the development of Comtec, allowing an exit for the existing shareholders, whilst giving an excellent opportunity for the management team to play a key role in the future development of the company. We enjoyed a record level of turnover in 2007 and in January alone, a record £750 million of transactions were processed through Comtec’s systems.”

Comtec’s technology platforms enable purchasers (eg travel agents) to access and transact with sellers of travel products (eg tour operators and hotels). It has recently launched Comtec TravelGateway, establishing the largest leisure travel network in the industry by connecting agents and operators with hundreds of travel products. It has also launched TravelConnect, a major milestone in travel agency selling systems.

The deal also comes as Comtec has secured a long term strategic partnership with Vacation.com, one of the largest travel agency consortia for independent travel agents in the United States. With a strong client base which includes: TUI Travel, Thomas Cook, Hays Travel , The Adventure Company and Hayes & Jarvis, Comtec has a number of long standing client relationships and is highly regarded within the industry for its high customer service levels.

The Clearwater team was led by partner Andy Moore and included Gary Hyem, Mark Day and US-based John Rovani. Andy Moore said: “Through a combination of our knowledge of the travel technology industry and our experience of private equity solutions, we structured a deal which is designed to allow the well regarded management team to take the business to the next level. As part of the process, we selected RJD partners as the most suitable partner to support management’s business plan.”

John Dillon of RJD Partners who was assisted by Frank Bulman added: “We are delighted to be investing in Comtec at such an exciting stage in its development. It is well positioned to pursue its strategy of ongoing product development, geographic expansion and strategic acquisitions.”

HSBC in Birmingham provided senior debt facilities. Legal advisers to the vendors were M&A Solicitors in Cardiff (Alan Whiteley). RJD Partners were advised by DLA Birmingham (Jim Lavery) with Eversheds in Birmingham advising HSBC.