Key Travel secures £9 million in management buyout

Key Travel secures £9 million in management buyout

Specialist travel management company Key Travel has attracted a £9 million investment as part of a management buyout.

Private equity firm ISIS Equity Partners is supporting the MBO of the company.

Chief executive Steve Summers is leaving “to pursue other personal ambitions”.

Former chief financial officer Spence Knudson will assume the role of chief executive.

Founder Ajaya Sodha will step down as chairman but will retain a “substantial” financial stake in the business and will continue to support the business on industry relations.

James Gilmour, formerly group financial controller, has been promoted to the position of group financial director, while UK managing director Andy Speller will also assume responsibility for sales in Belgium.

The company, which focuses on the non-profit sector, stressed that there will be no operational changes for customers or suppliers.

Knudson said: “We are delighted to announce this exciting milestone in the Key Travel story, enabling us to continue to grow as an independent TMC providing our customers with high quality service at affordable prices.

“The management team investment demonstrates their commitment to the future of the business and I personally look forward to leading the next phase of our development with them and the support of ISIS.

“We considered a number of investment proposals, but chose to partner with ISIS because they had a genuine affinity with our business, and the sector we serve.

“ISIS brings a wealth of strategic expertise and knowledge having already completed similar investments in both travel and non-profit sector support businesses, and we are all eager to mobilise our future plans with them by our side.”

ISIS partner Pete Clarke added: “We have long been an admirer of Key Travel and first got to know Ajaya and his management team some years ago.

“When the opportunity to invest as part of the MBO came along we were keen to be able to play a part and support Spence and the team in the next chapter for Key.

“We are already looking to invest further capital to support the ambitious growth plans of the business and have a number of potential acquisitions in our sights.”

Sodha said: “After 30 years in the front seat on the Key Travel journey I feel that the time and the place has come for me to take a back seat and let a new generation of leaders take the controls.

“With Spence now at the helm of the company I know my vision for the future of Key Travel will be fulfilled and is in very safe and capable hands.

“Customers and staff will benefit from the investment that ISIS will bring and ensure the long-term future of the business.”

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