2015: No.25= - £130m
Turnover at Michael Wright’s Riviera Travel has grown by 125 per cent in the last five years. No wonder four buyout firms were queuing up to acquire it.
The Burton-on-Trent company, which specialises in excursions, river cruises, escorted holidays and short breaks around the world, has seen a big rise in profits recently, so a sale to Phoenix Equity Partners is expected to net founder and director Wright and his wife Claire around £130 million. They are understood to be retaining a significant shareholding and Michael Wright will still be involved in the running of the company.
Bridgepoint, LDC, and Equistone all submitted bids for the company which was established by 58-year-old Michael Wright in 1983. But Phoenix – the company which backed Jimmy Choo shoes - achieved pole position
In 2013 profits jumped to £10.2 million on sales of £106.2 million. Performance has 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.
Award-winning Riviera – which employs 84 people – 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.
Wright employs his own 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.