Hotelbeds would be a ‘perfect’ business to take public with an IPO of shares when its current VC backers seek an exit, according to executive chairman Joan Vilà.
The leading Majorca-based B2B beds supplier was bought by private equity group Cinven and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board from Europe’s largest travel firm Tui Group in 2016 for €1.65 billion.
Vilà said his focus for now was on growing the business and completing the integration of recent acquisitions GTA and Tourico Holidays.
However he said with the current shareholders likely to seek a return on their investment a float could be an option.
“In three years they may like to sell. I think we are a perfect business for an IPO (Initial Public Offering of shares). I think there’s a big chance that this might happen.”
Vilà said despite Hotelbeds’ considerable scale it still had significant scope to grow organically as it only has around a 14% market share.
And he said as market leader it will grow faster than its rivals and be able to take more market share.
He dismissed a suggestion that Hotelbeds’ role as an intermediary aggregator meant it creates a ‘grey market’ for hotels saying it acts as vital partner to its hotel and agency clients and focuses on benefitting both.
Asked whether he foresaw the firm driving further consolidation with more acquisitions Vilà said there was a possibility. “At this moment in time our priority is clearly on the integration because our teams really want to be working in the new organisation. We will be looking at similar companies to ours with B2B distribution and also some companies that are complementary to us,” he said.
One area Hotelbeds will continue to invest in is technological innovation. “Technology and innovation has always been in our blood,” said Vilà. “We have always been experimenting and we are quite advanced in terms of our use of data.”
Vilà revealed Hotelbeds has completed two proof of concepts on blockchain technology, one on its application for internal processes and another to see if it is feasible to build an entire bed bank on the distributed ledger technology . “Are we going to do it? We do not know yet, but we will continue to look at it.”