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Jobs pledge as holiday firm snapped up

PUBLISHED: 07:42 23 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:21 02 July 2010

The new owner of one of the best-known names in East Anglian tourism, Hoseasons, pledged today that jobs were safe at the firm's headquarters at Lowestoft.

The new owner of one of the best-known names in East Anglian tourism, Hoseasons, pledged today that jobs were safe at the firm's headquarters at Lowestoft.

Hoseasons has been bought by American travel giant Wyndham Worldwide for £51m in a move that ended weeks of speculation about the firm's future.

Wyndham owns a series of major self-catering brands in the UK, including English Country Cottages and Cottages4you, and operates more than 60,000 holiday properties across Europe.

Ian Ailles, managing director of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals, said it would be business as usual at the Hoseasons HQ in Raglan Road and stressed that the workforce of 200 had nothing to fear from the change of ownership.

“We see Lowestoft as a great know-ledge centre which brings another dimension to the Wyndham busi-ness,” he added. “Hoseasons is a truly fantastic and iconic brand. We'll be looking over time to drive the Hoseasons brand to new heights.”

As both firms sell travel insurance as part of their business, the deal has to be approved by the UK regulator, the Financial Services Authority.

The deal will end a seven-year spell for Hoseasons under the ownership of private equity group HgCapital, which bought it for £40m in 2003.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard welcomed the deal, saying: “I've spoken to the company and they've given me a commitment to Lowestoft, a commitment to the Hoseasons brand and a commitment to grow the business. On that basis, it has to be a good-news story for Lowestoft.

“It takes the company out of private equity, which means they are more able to invest in expanding the company and improving it.”

Hoseasons chief executive Richard Carrick described the Wyndham deal as a fantastic opportunity. He added: “You always know with private equity ownership that there's likely to be a sale within five to eight years, and this deal falls in the middle of that, so in some respects it's not great surprise. There are certain advantages to private equity, but the disadvantage is that it's difficult to take a long-term strategic view because you know that in the future there'll be a sale.

“The new owners, Wyndham, have been around for a long time and are one of the world's most successful travel businesses.”

Workers were also excited at the news, Jo Honeyman, senior product account executive, 35, from Mutford, said: "We all knew the company was up for sale and there was a bit of excitement in the air, seeing what would happen and who was going to buy us.

"I think you can guess for yourself that if you've got a good brand here, got good people here, if it works, why change it? The morale is good in the call centre. I think people are quite satisfied that its business as usual and will continue with what we do best - sell holidays."

Do you have a business story for the Evening News? Contact Sam Williams on 01603 772447 or email sam.williams@archant.co.uk

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