Milestones

Kuoni Group Milestones in 110 years of history (scroll down for previous years or click on years to open and close).

2013 to 2016 

2016

The public tender offer of EQT  for the takeover of the Kuoni Group had been settled on 19 May 2016. EQT holded 98.02 percent of the voting rights in Kuoni and 97.52 percent of the share capital of Kuoni on that day.

The new board members Ulf Berg (chairman), Michael Bauer and Thomas Geiser, who were elected at the occasion of the extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders on 2 May 2016, assume their office on 19 May 2016. All incumbent board members of Kuoni have resigned as of the settlement date of the Offer.

On 2 Febrary Kuoni Group’s Board of Directors supports announced public tender offer by private equity company EQT. 

The unanimous decision of Kuoni’s Board of Directors follows a comprehensive review and assessment of all strategic options to create value for shareholders and to further the interests of the company. The Board believes that a take-private of the Kuoni Group under the ownership of private equity company EQT offers highly attractive benefits for its business partners and employees. The transaction enables Kuoni Group to further develop its position as a leading, focused and global travel services provider by investing in technology, in its enhanced service portfolio and in the acquisition of other businesses.

2015

Kuoni’s Board of Directors and Group Executive Board have decided in January 2015 to focus the company’s activities on its core business as a service provider to the global travel industry and to governments. In its new set-up, Kuoni Group will be structured into three divisions, Global Travel Distribution (GTD), Global Travel Services (GTS) and VFS Global. Kuoni has therefore decided to focus its resources and to divest its tour operating activities.

Kuoni Group has signed an agreement in June 2015 with DER Touristik (which belongs to REWE Group) for it to acquire all the tour operators, specialists, travel agencies and online sales in the Switzerland, UK, Scandinavia/Finland and Benelux markets, as well as the airline Novair and the Playitas family and sports resort on Fuerteventura. The sale of European tour operating activities to REWE Group was completed on 11 September 2015 after the responsible European competition authorities gave their unconditional approval to the transaction earlier.

Kuoni Group has signed an agreement in August with Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd through its travel provider Thomas Cook India to sell Kuoni’s Indian travel activities and the tour operator Kuoni Hong Kong. The Indian travel activities encompass outbound tour operating, business travel, travel agencies, and inbound business (Destination Management India).

On November 5 the Board of Directors has appointed Zubin Karkaria (47) as the new CEO of the Kuoni Group with immediate effect. He replaces the outgoing CEO Peter Meier and concurrently continues to run the VFS Global Division. Zubin Karkaria founded VFS Global in 2001 and built the company up very successfully to become the global leader in visa services for governments. The Board of Directors has appointed Dr. Prisca Havranek-Kosicek (40) as the Kuoni Group’s new CFO.

2014

Peter Meier has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kuoni Group. Peter Meier became Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Member of the Group Executive Board at the end of 2010. He has led the company as interim CEO since June 2013. Thomas Peyer, previously CFO of the Global Travel Services (GTS) Division, has been appointed as the new Group CFO.

Kuoni reported clear improvements in results for 2013 with a turnover of
CHF 5’669 million, EBIT of CHF 154.2 million (+198.3%).

Kuoni Annual General Meeting of Shareholders elected Heinz Karrer in April 2014 as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors. He has been a member of Kuoni’s Board of Directors since 2007 and was Vice Chairman from 2012. Heinz Karrer took over as Chairman from Henning Boysen, who served on the Board for 11 years and decided not to stand for another term of office.

2013

At the beginning of March 2013 Kuoni Group completed its announced withdrawal from tour operator activities in Italy. On this date Italian company “The RS Holding S.r.l.” (a company of Alessandro Rosso) took over the tour operating business run under the Kuoni and Best Tours brands. All employees are being taken on by the new owners.

Kuoni’s tour operating activities in France are being sold to local management (management buy-out) at the beginning of April 2013. This deal affects all five of Kuoni France’s tour operating brands. All employees are being taken on by the new owners. This sale in France and the previously announced exit from loss-making tour operating activities in Europe largely completes the streamlining of the portfolio.

21 March 2013 the Kuoni Group announced an adjusted group structure with the following divisions and activities, which are managed by the specified Members of the Executive Board:
– Global Travel Services (Group Travel, FIT – Fully Independent Traveller) headed by Rolf Schafroth
– Outbound & Specialists (tour operating business in Nordics, Switzerland, the UK, Benelux, India, China/Hong Kong, plus Destination Management Specialists), headed by Stefan Leser
– VFS Global (visa processing services) headed by Zubin Karkaria
CEO Peter Rothwell and CFO Peter Meier complete Kuoni Group’s five-person Executive Board.

22 August 2013 the Kuoni Group publishes its half-year results and announces that the transformation of the company is completed. Kuoni Group now presents itself as a global travel-related service provider with leading positions in its areas of activity and sustainable profitable growth prospects. Kuoni Group is active in three main segments: Destination & Accommodation Services, Tour Operating and Visa Processing Services.

2009 to 2012

2012

Kuoni’s new global focus brings significantly higher earnings in 2011. Kuoni posted a record turnover of CHF 5’111 million. Operating earnings (EBIT) improved 27% to CHF 74.2 million.

Kuoni announced that in the light of the evolution of the Kuoni Group’s portfolio, various smaller loss-making tour operating businesses are no longer of strategic relevance to the group. Businesses affected are tour operating activities in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, as well as the B2C online hotel platform Octopustravel.

The Kuoni brand’s tour operator activities in the Netherlands and Spain were sold to local management (management buy-outs) as at 30 November 2012. Megapolus Tours (Russia) was sold to the owner of Russian tour operator “Russian Express” on 30 November 2012. All about 250 employees concerned have been taken on by the new owners. No sustainable solution has been found for Kuoni and Best Tours in Belgium and for the B2C online hotel platform Octopustravel. Therefore closure of these operations has been initiated. Activities will cease during the first half of 2013.

Kuoni’s Global Travel Services division unveiled two ‘refreshed’ brand identities for GTA and Kuoni Group Travel Experts that have evolved to support separate and sharply focused strategies addressing fully independent (FIT) and group travel.

For more information, visit the 2012 online annual report.

2011

Kuoni announces the acquisition of Gullivers Travel Associates (GTA). Shareholders agreed at Annual General Meeting to increase equity to finance the acquistion. Kuoni completed in May 2011 a CHF 257 million rights offering and finalised the acquisition of GTA.

The current Group structure was introduced with three divisions; Outbound Europe, Global Travel Services (GTS) and Emerging Markets & Specialists.

Kuoni Destination Management was voted World’s Leading Destination Management Company by World Travel Award for the second consecutive year.

For more information, visit the 2011 online annual report.

2010

Expansion of tour operating activities in Italy and Belgium with acquistion of Best Tours. In MICE business Gulf Dunes and Reem Tours for Destination Management Services were acquired in the United Arab Emirates.

For more information, visit the 2010 online annual report.

2009

A three-year investment and cost reduction programm was launched to further enhance Kuoni’s transformation.

New Group structure includes first time central Procurement & Production Unit for European tour operating activities.

For more information, visit the 2009 online annual report.

2004 to 2008 

2008

Kuoni enters a strategic partnership with Swiss International AirLines and sells its leisure airline Edelweiss Air.

Austrian travel offices had beed disposed to the local management.

Destination Management activities had been further expanded by acquiring Desert Adventures Tourism (Dubai/Oman) and Australian Tours Management in Melbourne. Luxury tour operator Carrier was bought in the UK.

2007

Kuoni starts its transformation process with a new Group structure and a global rebranding.

Kuoni continues its expansian strategy and acquires specialists CV Travel (UK), Dorado Latin Tours (CH) and Les Ateliers du Voyage (F).

Kuoni enters the Russian Market with the acquisition of UTE Megapolus.

2006

Kuoni celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Playitas holiday resort on Fuerteventura/Spain was taken over after massive overindebtedness of its major shareholder “Ferienverein”.

Kuoni extends is activities in the specialist tour operating area by acquiring UK specialists Kirker Holidays and Journeys of Distinction and Kontiki-Saga in Switzerland, as well as Destination Management Companies Asian Trails (Southeast Asia) and Distant Frontiers (India).

Henning Boysen became Chairman of the Board of Directors after Andreas Schmid had resigned as Chairman.

2005

Kuoni acquires Royal Hansa Tours and Avontuur.nu in Holland. In Scandinavia Norwegian online specialists Reisetorget has been bought. Meanwhile US tour operator Intrav Inc. was sold to First Choice plc in the UK.

2004

Kuoni sells its 49% shareholding in TUI Suisse to TUI Hannover. The Caribbean hotels are sold to the Rex Resort Hotel Group. This marks the start of Kuoni’s “asset-light” strategy.

1995 to 2003 

2003

Kuoni is the first Swiss travel organization to be awarded the ISO 14001 environmental certificate.

In India, Kuoni opens its own travel academy (Kuoni Academy of Travel) with the aim of training tourism professionals and underlining its focus on innovation.

2002

Following the acquisition of Allied Tours LLC, Kuoni becomes the leading incoming specialist in the USA.

2001

Kuoni acquires 100% of the Apollo Group and of Novair, a charter airline, and merges all Scandinavian operations to a single group.

2000

In Scandinavia, Kuoni acquires 49 % of Apollo Resor AB in Stockholm and becomes the third largest travel organization in Sweden. Apollo is active in Sweden, Denmark and Norway and sells a significant share of its products via the Internet.

Kuoni takes on market leadership in India following the acquisition of Sita Travel, a leading vacation and business travel operator with incoming services.

Acquisition of T-PRO (New York), the third largest US incoming specialist.

Kuoni’s charter airline, Edelweiss, takes delivery of an Airbus A-330 and starts long-haul services.

1997

Establishment of a 50/50 joint venture, P&O Travel Ltd. in Hong Kong, with offices in Bangkok and Singapore.

1996

Entry into the Indian Market with takeover of SOTC Holiday Tours Private in Bombay (India), later to be renamed “Kuoni India”.

1995

Establishment of the charter airline, Edelweiss, with Kuoni as majority shareholder.

The Foundation gives up its majority vote in favor of a broad distribution among shareholders. “Reisebüro Kuoni AG” is transferred to “Kuoni Reisen Holding AG”. Kuoni is listed on the high change of Zurich stock exchange.

1957 to 1992 

1992

Swissair sells its majority shareholding to Germany’s Kaufhof AG. The Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation retains the majority vote.

1982

Launch of the “Helvetic Tours” brand in Switzerland; the brand stands for budget travel.

1978

With 50.5 % Swissair becomes the majority shareholder, while the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation retains the majority vote.

1976

First around-the-world charter flight organized by Kuoni with a Swissair DC-8 aircraft; the stop-over in Shanghai represents the first time China granted landing rights to a special flight.

1972

Kuoni is listed on the Zurich Stock Exchange; Motor Columbus AG and Swissair become minority shareholders.

1965

Acquisition of the British travel agency, Challis & Benson London, later to be renamed Kuoni UK Ltd. For the first time, Kuoni operates a Balair DC-6B on a charter chain to Bangkok.

1963

Opening of the Tokyo branch for Groups business.

1957

Establishment of the Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation as owner of the company with a majority shareholding and the majority of votes. Harry Hugentobler retires but remains chairman. Jack Bolli is appointed General Manager of the headquarters.

1906 to 1951

1951

Start of growth outside Switzerland with the opening of branches in France (Paris) and Italy. As the first European tour operator Kuoni sells all-inclusive tours to East Africa.

1943

Death of founder Alfred Kuoni. His shares are inherited by his son, Alfred Kuoni II, who is appointed to the board of directors.

1925

Transfer of individually-owned company to an incorporated company: Aktiengesellschaft Reisebureau A. Kuoni AG; Harry Hugentobler becomes partner and minority shareholder with a 40-percent share. Opening of branches in Lucerne, Pontresina and Nice. Up to the start of World War II numerous branches opened in Switzerland, France and Italy.

1923

Opening of first branch in St. Moritz.

1921

Kuoni is awarded the federal license to operate an emigration agency.

1912

Alfred Kuoni withdraws from the haulage company jointly owned with his brothers and relocates his travel agency to Bahnhofplatz in Zurich.

1907

The first guided overseas tour to Egypt.

1906

Alfred Kuoni established a travel agency at Sonnenquai 6 (today Bellevue Place) as an extension of the haulage company he owned together with his brothers.