Takeover seals golden payday for travel firm founder

The founder of travel firm Gold Medal was set for a £47.5m (€53.3m) payday today after Thomas Cook completed its buy-out of the firm.

Ken Townsley, who set up Gold Medal more than 30 years ago, sold just over half of the company to the travel giant for £24.9m (€27.9m) last year.

Preston-based Gold Medal – which also owns Leeds United sponsor netflights and the upmarket Pure Luxury tour operator – specialises in holidays to the US, the Far East and Australasia, as well as holding a market leading position in Dubai.

Mr Townsley, a former baggage handler at Blackpool airport, has now earned more than £72m (€80.7m) from the sale of the business, which has 540 staff.

Gold Medal takes around 600,000 travellers to 1,500 destinations every year and made pre-tax profits of £8.1m (€9.1m) on sales of £309.7m (€347.5m) in the year to September 30.

Thomas Cook had an option to buy the rest of the business by March next year. Chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa said the deal underlined its commitment to the independent travel sector.

“Since we acquired a majority stake in the business almost a year ago, Gold Medal has traded exceptionally well, clearly demonstrating the strategic importance of having a strong presence in this market,” he said.

Thomas Cook last month reported underlying pre-tax profits of £308.2m (€345.9m) for the year to September, broadly level with last year despite City predictions of a 3% fall.

The company said the results were “particularly pleasing” against the backdrop of recession and the swine flu outbreak, which cost it an estimated £8m (€9m) in the UK.

More in this Section

Workvivo wants to ‘build sense of community in workplace’Workvivo wants to ‘build sense of community in workplace’

Airbus cuts production by third due to Covid-19 pandemicAirbus cuts production by third due to Covid-19 pandemic

Shares in insurance firms hit hardShares in insurance firms hit hard

Euro falls as finance ministers reach impasse on shouldering huge Covid-19 burdenEuro falls as finance ministers reach impasse on shouldering huge Covid-19 burden


Lifestyle

Junior Cert and Leaving Cert students mustn’t be forced to go through the motions with state exams, and we need creative thinking to find alternatives fast, writes mother and educator Ellie O’Byrne.Policy fail? Insistence that state exams go ahead in June is glib and ignorant

Yes, we all need to stay at home but that doesn't mean your children have to be bored, says Michelle McGlynnWorld of wonder: What to do with the children outdoors

Over the next three weeks, I am going to outline how you can support yourself and your family over this period of lockdown, writes Richard Hogan.Learning Points: Keeping children on a healthy and happy regime

As we are settling into our new routines of self isolation, staying at home and home schooling it feels that a whole new set of pressures is coming down the tracks.Mum's The Word: Pressure to be productive in a world of online classes

More From The Irish Examiner