Private equity firm invests £2.5 million in 1st Class Holidays

Private equity firm invests £2.5 million in 1st Class Holidays

Manchester-based Canada specialist 1st Class Holidays plans to accelerate its growth following a £2.5 million investment.

PHD Private Equity is behind the boost for the tour operator, which works solely with independent travel agents and employs 36 people.

While 1st Class Holidays, which has a turnover of £16 million, will continue to be led by founders Paul Ainsworth and Sharon Mason, the new investment will provide an exit for finance director and shareholder Henri Treffers.

“Over the last 20 years we have built a high quality service offering and established a strong market position particularly in Canada,” said Ainsworth.

“The backing from PHD and its partnership approach will give us an even stronger platform to accelerate our plans and take our business to a new level.

“It is great to be working with an enthusiastic team who share our conviction that our business can be scaled up.” 

The deal, led by PHD Equity partners Andy Dodd and Craig Richardson, and director Tony Meakin, was the first transaction by the firm from its second private equity fund, which had its final close earlier this year at £20 million.

Dodd said: “We are investing in a well-established travel business, operating in the luxury tailor-made end of the market, and backing a remarkable management team who have created their own niche in Canada.

“We are looking forward to working with Paul and Sharon to meet their growth plans for the business.”


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