2017: No.36 - £130m
2016: No.31 - £130m
An 83 per cent profit growth over three years was enough to ensure that Michael Wright’s Riviera Travel had private equity firms queuing up for piece of the action.
The Burton-on-Trent company - which specialises in excursions, river cruises, escorted holidays and short breaks around the world - secured investment from Phoenix Equity Partners, which netted founder and director Michael Wright and his wife Claire around £130 million in 2014.
They retained a significant shareholding and Michael Wright is still be involved in the running of the company.
Bridgepoint, LDC, and Equistone all submitted bids for the company which was established by 60 year-old Michael Wright in 1983. But Phoenix – the company which backed Jimmy Choo shoes - achieved pole position
Profits and revenue have grown steadily over recent years, boosted by repeat business and new destinations.
Michael Wright famously road tests the tours himself before offering them for sale. Buster Jimmy, the company which receives dividend's from the family's remaining stake in Riviera Travel has assets of close to £125 million.
Award-winning Riviera has developed a wide-ranging series of escorted tours, from short breaks and river cruises in Europe to 16-day itineraries across North America, India and the Middle East, but its reputation has been built on small details.
Michael Wright won a reputation for employing experienced and fully trained tour leaders who are not only knowledgeable about their destination, but experienced in handling the concerns of clients.
Riviera’s success has also been built on the recognition that value for money is essential, and so they weathered the recession unscathed.
Every part of an itinerary is included – from the accommodation and food to the transfers and taxes – meaning no unexpected costs.