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MONTIS Success Stories | Nico Tscherven

by Montis CF

Hi Nico! Congratulations once again on the majority sale of tripado GmbH to a larger Travel Group. How have the first few months in the new set-up been?

Thank you. The first months after the acquisition have already shown that this was the right step for tripado at the right time. With the now stronger market presence and much greater firepower, the company is looking into a bright future. The group structure provides us with numerous advantages. We are able to obtain better terms and have a stronger appearance as we can offer more rates profitably. This makes tripado much more competitive in the online travel market than before.

Tripado has evolved very successfully as an online travel agency in recent years. Which factors have been relevant to achieve this?

After me joining tripado at the beginning of 2015 we have realigned the company. 2015 was marked by investments, both in the website and the technology. We also expanded our product portfolio to include BSP (scheduled flights) as well as charter flights. As of Q4/2015, these measures showed in positive results allowing us to really take off in 2016. Particularly important was a change in strategy as the online flight market is highly competitive. Besides our own website we are listed on all relevant metasearchers such as Skyscanner, Momondo or Swoodoo, thus placing our fares there. However, in order to significantly increase profitability, it was necessary to concentrate on certain niche markets. In retrospect, this change in strategy proved to be a major success. In addition to scheduled and chartered flights operated by more than 170 airlines, we are now also offering package tours, hotels, rental cars as well as comprehensive travel insurance services.

What's your personal background? What has got you into the online travel industry?

I basically have a conventional CFO background. After several positions in Group Controlling at T-Systems, SAP and CIBA Vision, I joined the owner-managed online shop redcoon in 2009. As Head of Controlling, I was responsible for setting up and restructuring numerous processes as well as building up the organization from a business perspective. After the sale to Media-Saturn, where I gained further M&A experience, I joined Travel Viva AG, which at the time already successfully operated several travel platforms. As CFO, I was also involved in the preparations for the sale to Unister in 2014. As traveling has always been my great passion, it was the logical move to stay within this industry. So I decided to take the opportunity to join tripado at the beginning of 2015 as a managing partner. As I had already gained a lot of experience in restructuring and optimizing companies, I immediately knew what adjustments I would have to make to help tripado succeed.

What were the reasons for initiating an M&A process after these successful years? What were your goals and expectations?

Following the restructuring in recent years, the company has developed extremely well in terms of both revenues and earnings. However, there are issues that are difficult as a medium-sized company including and above all the internationalization. At some point you have to ask yourself how the future is supposed to look and whether you are able to achieve these goals by yourself. Moreover, large investments are necessary to expand into other countries. As we saw major synergy potentials and greater firepower as part of something bigger we decided to follow the path of an M&A process. We were in particular looking for a strategic partner who was already positioned relevantly in the travel sector and who could support us in our plans in the best possible way and who would be able to support us as best as possible in our plans.

Why did you choose MONTIS Corporate Finance as your M&A advisor? What is your take on the process?

I already met Thorsten a while back at an event and immediately was under the impression that Thorsten and his team were the right partners for such a project. So there was no real decision. I've also known Birger since the redcoon deal with Media-Saturn, on which we worked together on the sell side and have been friends ever since. Therefore, I already had some connection to MONTIS. I was particularly impressed by the efficiency and professionalism of Thorsten and his team. MONTIS supported us throughout the entire process in a highly committed and professional manner and was the perfect sparring partner in all talks and negotiations. From the group of potential international investors we ultimately chose a partner that offers tripado the best future prospects. The acquisition puts tripado in an excellent position for future internationalization and market penetration.

How is the cooperation going at the moment and what are your personal goals with tripado?

Up to this point the cooperation has developed very well. As part of a larger travel group tripado benefits from tremendous synergy effects, as a greater part of the supply chain is covered within the group allowing for higher margin potential. Further growth will be driven primarily by internationalization enabling us to take full advantage of all expansion opportunities. I am curious how the future will look, but I am also fully convinced that we have great growth potential in the new set-up.

Thank you very much for the interview! We wish you continued success with tripado!

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