Fexco acquire stake in Online Teetimes

KILLORGIN-based Fexco have been on the acquisition trail again, this time snapping up a majority stake in Online Teetimes.

The Wicklow Town based Online Teetimes maintains a database of tee-off times for golf clubs across Ireland and sells green fees through its website teetimes.ie.

It was not disclosed yesterday how much Fexco paid for the majority stake, but the figure is believe to be in the millions.

Fexco will also pump in a “significant investment” into Online Teetimes Limited (OTL) to develop the company and its service.

Fexco’s vice-chairman, former Labour party leader, Dick Spring, will become chairman of (OTL) and the company will be run by Fexco’s subsidiary Gulliver Ireland, which provides tourism information and reservations.

In February Fexco acquired a majority stake in The Gift Voucher Shop and last October acquired the remaining shares in financial services firm Prudential Investment Corporation of Australia.

The company has about €30m of cash on its books and when announcing its annual result last year, it told the Irish Examiner that this would be used to find acquisitions.

Adrian Waters, managing director said Fexco’s financial and operational commitment “facilitates OTL’s strategy, which is to operate hand in hand with golf courses to be the leading distributor of green fees in Ireland”.

“This cooperative approach will result in greater choice and value for the golfer and incremental revenue for golf course operators,” he said.

Fexco said access online real time availability of golf tee times will have a huge impact on the golf market in the coming years, just as it has in the accommodation sector. Online accommodation bookings through Gulliver are almost doubling every year, and this year will reach over 50,000, it said and predicted golf bookings will follow a similar pattern.

Fexco was set up by former AIB assistant bank manager Brian McCarthy in 1981. The company had profits of €15m in 2002 or turnover of €87m. Mr McCarthy is the largest shareholder in Fexco, which employs 550 people in Kerry, with US firm First Data Corporation holding a quarter of its shares.

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