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Jun 2015 – GCP realises its investment in Iglu, the UK’s largest independent ski and cruise agent

GCP realises its investment in Iglu, the UK’s largest independent agent for ski holidays and cruises

Iglu - ski and cruise agent

Growth Capital Partners (GCP), the mid-market private equity firm, has realised its investment in Iglu, the UK’s leading online travel agent specialising in cruise and ski holidays.

Founded in 1998 by Richard Downs and headquartered in Wimbledon, Iglu initially focussed on ski holidays and is now the UK’s largest agent in this market. In 2006, the company extended its product offering to include cruise holidays. In May 2012 GCP supported the secondary MBO of Iglu backing an entrepreneurial management team to deliver their plan for the business.

Since GCP’s investment, the business has doubled revenue from £87m to £174m and tripled EBITDA through a combination of organic growth and the acquisition of Planet Cruise. The acquisition was fully funded by GCP, demonstrating commitment to the business and a flexible funding structure. Iglu is now the largest independent cruise agent in the UK.

Iglu will continue its specialism in ski and cruise, with the market in cruise forecasting strong growth through the introduction of new cruise capacity. Iglu is also expanding its product range to include tailor-made holidays, luxury cruises and long haul holidays.

James Blake, Partner at Growth Capital Partners said:

“We were attracted to Iglu’s market-leading position in the travel sector. Iglu has developed a very strong customer proposition as demonstrated by its growth over the last three years. Throughout our investment we have been very impressed with the commitment and ambition of the management team. We wish them all the very best in the next stage of their growth and I am sure the business will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Richard Downs, CEO at Iglu said:

“GCP’s partnership investment style and ability to fund the whole deal at completion made them an ideal investor for Iglu. Over the last three years they have proved supportive and flexible as Iglu has grown, including a commitment of further investment in the business to fund the acquisition of Planet Cruise.”

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