Fexco, based in Killorglin, declined to give the precise amount it paid for Nova RentaCar Reservations, a Co Down online search and booking engine for travellers looking to hire a car, citing confidentiality agreements. But industry sources valued the business at up to €8m based on its throughput of over 60,000 car rentals over the last year.
The company has relationships with several leading global brands including Budget, Europcar and National. Nova offers car rentals at more than 3,000 locations around the world and will be incorporated into Fexco’s travel and leisure division following the takeover.
The division already contains Gulliver Ireland, an online tourist information and reservation services provider.
Fexco took outright control of Gulliver last month when it bought out the 25% stake it did not own from Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Gulliver managing director Stewart Stephens said the investment in Nova underlined Fexco’s commitment to offer the best value tourism products in the market. “Nova’s online strategy is a perfect fit with Fexco’s and we anticipate that the company will benefit greatly from working with Gulliver Ireland,” he said.
The acquisition will allow Fexco to offer an integrated package for holidaymakers to book accommodation and car rental.
“This gives us a fantastic base on which to build and we plan to compete aggressively on price and service, both at home and abroad,” said Dr Stephens, who added the move would be positive for consumers by allowing Fexco to be more competitive and attack the high margins charged by other operators.
Nova general manager Bernard Roddy said the Fexco takeover would allow Nova to reach the next stage of business growth.
“With Fexco’s online travel and leisure sector leadership and its global presence, Nova can extend its existing geographical offering and continue to deliver the highest levels of service at the lowest possible price,” he said.
The acquisition is the latest in a series of moves by Fexco to expand into businesses that complement its core payment processing and online operations.
The company bought majority stakes in The Gift Voucher Shop, which allows customers to buy vouchers for a range of stores through the post office network, and golf course reservation outfit Online Teetimes earlier this year.