EbixCash, the financial exchange division of US insurance solution provider Ebix, has acquired assets of India’s Business Travels Group to aggressively grow its Via Travel business.
Industry veteran Praveen Chugh of Business Travels Group, who is also president of Travel Agents Federation of India, has immediately taken over as Via – COO, agency sales.
Ebix chairman, president and CEO Robin Raina, commenting on Chugh’s appointment, said: “His vast experience, success record and contacts in the world travel industry provide us with an industry veteran who can lead Via B2B sales to new heights. He has the ability and drive to grow our Via Travel Division business at high double-digit rates.”
Chugh said: “Via is already among the top five B2B travel companies in the country. My primary objective is to utilise my vast experience in the travel B2B segment especially in the airline ticketing domain to grow Via’s B2B business manifolds.
“The company at present is doing approximately an annual turnover of Rs30 billion (US$410 million) and the aim is to take it to Rs100 billion in the next few years.”
The appointment of Chugh follows a number of key senior sales leadership hires in the corporate travel sector by EbixCash, for its corporate and luxury travel initiative – Mercury.
On top of being given the mandate to grow the B2B business of Via through multiple sales and acquisition channels, Chugh has also been empowered to recruit as many as 100 domain specific travel sales executives besides opening up new travel locations across the country.
The Via distribution network encompasses over 85,000 agents in India, 14,700 agents in Indonesia, 9,900 agents in Philippines, 600 agents in Singapore, and 350 agents in UAE and Oman.
Besides being one of the leaders in the space in India, the company has emerged as the largest travel solutions provider in the Philippines. With a hotel inventory of over 500,000 hotels and one of the largest ticketing platforms expanding across corporates and distribution outlets, Via has a significant share of the domestic and international airline ticketing business.
Ebix considers the size of the Business Travels assets acquisition immaterial and thus did not disclose the financial details of the transaction. Ebix funded this transaction through internal sources using its own cash reserves.
- additional reporting by Rohit Kaul