Ad ban forces Meon to drop Silk Cut Travel

Ad ban forces Meon to drop Silk Cut Travel

and continued trading if it had not been bought by First Choice.

First Choice beat off competition from Airtours in the bidding for Meon.

Industry sources have suggested Airtours may have stood down because it plans to buy up First Choice anyway. This is now the subject of an European Commission investigation

The villa and golf specialist, which is believed to have made profits of between £400,000 and £500,000 is understood to have asked £10m for thecompany.

As part of the deal, Mark Olszowski, whose family owned Meon, will continue at the helm as managing director. His 70 staff will also remain.

He said: "We wanted a good deal for the staff and we got it. First Choice plans to build up Petersfield where we are based and that is what we were aiming for."

His father Stefan will retire and non-executive director Bryan Llewellyn is resigning. Meon's commercial director Jane Sheppard and sales and marketing director Susan Williams will stay on.

First Choice already operates a villa programme under its Sovereign brand but a spokeswoman said the acquisition would provide synergies in brochure production and bonding. Meon carries around 30,000 a year.

MEON Villas is winding down its upmarket tour operation Silk Cut Travel as the Government prepares to ban tobacco advertising in the UK.

The move comes as the villa specialist, which also owns Longshot Golf Holidays, was bought by First Choice for an undisclosed sum.

Chairman Stefan Olszowski said Meon had been told by Silk Cut cigarette brand owners Gallaher that it cannot continue its sponsorship in light of Government draft regulations clamping down on the promotion of tobacco.

Details of how much Gallaher paid Silk Travel in sponsorship has not been revealed.

Meon, who will redeploy the four Silk Cut Travel staff elsewhere in the company, has said it might have changed the name and continued trading if it had not been bought by First Choice.

First Choice beat off competition from Airtours in the bidding for Meon.

Industry sources have suggested Airtours may have stood down because it plans to buy up First Choice anyway. This is now the subject of an European Commission investigation

The villa and golf specialist, which is believed to have made profits of between £400,000 and £500,000 is understood to have asked £10m for thecompany.

As part of the deal, Mark Olszowski, whose family owned Meon, will continue at the helm as managing director. His 70 staff will also remain.

He said: "We wanted a good deal for the staff and we got it. First Choice plans to build up Petersfield where we are based and that is what we were aiming for."

His father Stefan will retire and non-executive director Bryan Llewellyn is resigning. Meon's commercial director Jane Sheppard and sales and marketing director Susan Williams will stay on.

First Choice already operates a villa programme under its Sovereign brand but a spokeswoman said the acquisition would provide synergies in brochure production and bonding. Meon carries around 30,000 a year.

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